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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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Good even start so far

Some solid jab work from both Marku and Prodan in the first few rounds, with a few early attempts to string together combinations, to boot. Prodan ends up on the canvas in the third but the referee waves off the knockdown, ruling it a slip.

Prodan vs. Marku incoming

And we are moments away from a heated main card opener, as Florian Marku challenges Maxim Prodan for the IBF international welterweight strap.
 

Main card start time + running order

So, the main card begins on the hour (6pm local time BST; 7pm CET; 1pm ET; 10am PT) and it's Maxim Prodan vs. Florian Marku over 10 rounds at super-welterweight kicking us off in what should be a very feisty encounter judging by their interactions so far during fight week. The first bell for that is anticipated around 6:15pm local time and after that comes Callum Smith vs. Lenin Castillo, then Campbell Hatton vs. Izan Dura, then Lawrence Okolie's first defence of his WBO cruiserweight belt vs. Dilan Prasovic before, finally, the main event between Anthony Joshya and Oleksandr Usyk for three world heavyweight titles.

Ousley beats Baysangurov via majority decision

Scores of 95-95 from Marcus McDonald and 97-94 from both Bob Williams and Steve Gray mean Chris Ousley remains undefeated and picks up the WBA Intercontinental middleweight title for his efforts.

Want to watch AJ vs. Usyk live?

DAZN are airing the card in over 170 countries, but the United Kingdom, Ireland, Ukraine and several more are broadcasting through alternative means. For instance, Sky Sports Box Office carrie the fight for UK and Ireland fight fans. To see if your country has the event on DAZN and for info on how to subscribe if so, check out this comprehensive guide.

Welcome!

Are you excited? We sure are! The first bout of the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk card is underway, and it's a prelim bout being streamed live on Facebook between Chris Ousley and Khasan Baysangurov over 10 rounds at middleweight.

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