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Oleksandr Usyk's masterclass dethrones heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua via unanimous decision

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LONDON — Oleksandr Usyk did exactly what he said he would do: follow an undisputed cruiserweight title success by becoming the unified heavyweight champion of the world.

Challenger Usyk put on a fantastic performance to dethrone Anthony Joshua via unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 115-113) and capture the IBF, WBA (super), and WBO heavyweight titles.

Both men felt the effects of their grueling 12-round duel with damaged right eyes apiece, but the timing of Usyk — both in his punches and when he switched from patience to aggression — were second-to-none and forced most of Joshua's key fighting strengths out of the situation entirely.

Joshua had done enough in isolation to keep it close and competitive but never really left first gear before Usyk's excellent conclusion in the last two rounds sealed it beyond debate.

The result likely scuppers the previous plan of a four-belt unification between Joshua and Tyson Fury — which was the plan for the summer until Deontay Wilder legally forced a trilogy bout with the current WBC champ.

There was a rematch clause in the contract. Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn told DAZN during the post-fight show that Joshua would invoke it. On this evidence, however, 'AJ' will need an entirely new approach to do what he did after his first pro loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. and regain the belts.

In the chief support, Lawrence Okolie made a comfortable first defense of his WBO cruiserweight title when he overwhelmed mandatory challenger Dilan Prasovic, scoring a knockdown in the second round before a body shot in the third prompted the official to wave it off.

Callum Smith marked his light-heavyweight bow with a brutal second-round knockout of Lenin Castillo, which caused a scare as the defeated boxer went limp in the ring. He did, however, show signs of recuperation as he was taken away by the medical team. It was Smith's first fight since losing his super-middleweight title to Canelo Alvarez in December.

Campbell Hatton appeared extremely fortunate to get the referee's decision against Sonny Martinez, 58-57, in what was a very rough outing in the young career of 'Hitman' Ricky Hatton's son. And Florian Marku won an enjoyable main card opener against Maxim Prodan via split decision with extremely contrasting scorecards from the judges: 99-91 to Prodan and 97-93 and 96-94 to Marku.

Re-live all of the action in the live blog below.

 

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Yes please

Anticipation is building

Incredible atmosphere

The fans here at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have been in good voice throughout, and even during this gap between fights they are responding extremely well to the arena DJ's excellent choices of singalong cheese anthems.

The wait is on

And it looks like we'll have at least half an hour more before we get the main event. A very brisk undercard has left a bit of a gap.

The countdown to AJ-Usyk begins

We are running about an hour ahead of schedule here, so it remains to be seen whether the heavyweight title fight does indeed wait until 10:10pm local time or if we'll get to the big one a little earlier.

Okolie beats Prasovic via third-round KO

The Londoner floors his foe again in Round 3, this time with a crunching left to the body, and this time there is no answering the 10-count. A routine first defence for the WBO cruiserweight champ against a mandatory most expected him to overwhelm quite easily.

Okolie throwing bombs

The champ scores a knockdown in the second round, and though Prasovic answers the count a big right hand follows up soon after. The challenger was no doubt happy to hear the bell at the end of that round.

Chief support coming up

Lawrence Okolie defends his WBO cruiserweight title against Dilan Prasovic next. It'll be the final fight before Joshua vs. Usyk in our main event.

Hatton beats Martinez via referee's decision

58-57 from the referee's scorecard in favour of Campbell Hatton. He remains undefeated... somehow. On that performance, he still has a lot of developing to do.
 

To the scorecards

This one goes the six-round distance and I'd be stunned if the score came back in Hatton's favour.

Halfway through

Three rounds in and it hasn't been a great night so far for Campbell; he's eating a lot of shots in there and Dura looks pretty pleased with things so far.

Some positive news on Castillo

Campbell Hatton next

The son of the legend continues his blossoming pro journey against Sonny Martinez in a lightweight six-rounder next.
 

Stretcher for Castillo

He looks like he is slowly regaining his senses, but the medical team will take no chances here in getting him out of the ring and over for a proper check. Tremendous one-punch finish from Callum on his light-heavy debut, though. 55 seconds in Round 2 had elapsed.

Smith beats Castillo via Round 2 KO

Smith scores a brutal knockout finish, and it's an uncomfortable scene in the immediate aftermath. Castillo's legs were convulsing as he lays on the canvas and he's receiving quick medical attention.
 

Next fight underway

Callum Smith begins his light-heavyweight journey against Lenin Castillo over 10 rounds.

Marku beats Prodan via split decision

We've got 99-91 Prodan; 97-93 Marku; 96-94 for the winner by split decision, Florian Marku! That was indeed a close fight and those are some wild scorecards!

Prodan-Marku goes the distance

Both men think they've won it. We're about to find out who did. We've got it 6-4 Marku based on the effectiveness of the jab, but to be honest it wasn't the sort of performance many were hoping to see from him.

Final round coming up

Looks like this one will go the distance. But is it Marku's jab or Prodan's enterprise that is doing it for the ringside judges?

Six rounds in

Got it three apiece so far, but it's definitely been a case of what you fancy in many respects. Marku's tendency in this fight and previous fights to really ham up the "that didn't hurt me" when his opponent lands clean doesn't mask the fact that he is indeed taking a lot more clean lands than he'd want to.

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