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Tyson Fury beaten by Oleksandr Usyk in classic for undisputed heavyweight title

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk

Tyson Fury was beaten by Oleksandr Usyk by the closest of split decisions in a classic fight for the undisputed world heavyweight title.

Usyk won by scores of 115-112 and 114-113 in his favour, with the other judge scoring 114-113 for the Morecambe man.

A ninth round 'knockdown' when the Ukrainian rallied and badly hurt The Gypsy King, sending him stumbling into the corner and forcing a count from the referee, proved decisive. 

Earlier in the contest, Tyson had boxed brilliantly, and was well in front after six rounds. 

But Usyk, who seemed hurt himself in the sixth round from the bigger man's uppercuts and body shots, showed the heart of a champion to come back in the second half.

Even so, there was drama in the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh at the end of the 12 rounds with the fight so close, nobody seemed sure who had won.

But Usyk got the nod, to become the first man ever to win both the undisputed heavyweight and cruiserweight titles. 

"I believe I won that fight," said Fury afterwards.

"I believe he won a few of the rounds but I won the majority of them. We both put on a good fight, the best we could do. His country's at war so people are siding with a country at war. But make no mistakes, I won that fight in my opinion and I'll be back. We have a rematch clause.

"I thank Jesus for all the victories he's given me. I've had a split decision loss to a good little man. We go back home to our families and we run it back in October."

A second fight between Usyk and Fury is likely to happen in the autumn and nobody who watched this absorbing contest will be complaining about the prospect of seeing it again.

It was a thrilling see-saw battle in Saudi Arabia, with the surprising subplot of the 6ft 9in 262lbs Tyson - the man with the six inch height and three stone weight advantage - boxing and moving, while the smaller man was the aggressor.

In the end, Usyk's iron will to win and accuracy with his southpaw left, which he landed repeatedly to Tyson's head particularly in the second half of the bout, gave him the edge on two judges' scorecards.

But Fury also deserves huge credit for somehow recovering from being badly hurt in the ninth, when he wobbled across the ring like a rag doll from Usyk's relentless attack.

At the end both fighters embraced and Fury, 35, kissed Usyk on the forehead in a show of sportsmanship. 

The 37-year-old from Ukraine held the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine titles going into the fight. With victory, the former Olympic champion also took Tyson's WBC and lineal titles, becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000.

Fury suffered the first loss of his professional career in 36 fights. Usyk remains unbeaten and now has 22 wins as a professional fighter.

Here is our round by round analysis and unofficial Beyond Radio scorecard: 

Round 1

A cagey start, with both men looking sharp in a high quality technical feeling out period. Fury immediately tries to dictate behind his long left jab. Usyk is having to target the body because of Fury's height advantage. Tyson showboats in the corner, playing to the crowd, but Usyk lands the first big punch, a good left to the chin. Fury though, scores with a left-right and has landed more overall to edge the first round. 10-9 Fury

Round 2

Usyk starts with a solid right-left combination. Fury beats his own head and chest in defiance then gets back behind his pole-like jab and starts to target his rival's body. Tyson gets through with a right hand and uppercut. Usyk is landing single shots to the body from range and scores just enough to win another tight round. 10-9 Usyk

Round 3

Usyk is the aggressor but Fury is in control. Jabs and a long right. Left-right. Uppercut. Tyson is pawing at his nose as if it's injured but otherwise he's moving well. Usyk only getting through with the odd single shot. Fury starts to tie Usyk up in an effort to wear him out. The Morecambe man has the edge but all three opening rounds have been closely contested. 10-9 Fury

Round 4

Fury now in complete control and the master boxer Usyk is reduced to chasing but getting picked off constantly. Tyson showboats in the corner again. Lands body shots and a lovely clean lead uppercut. Fury is actually outboxing Usyk. 10-9 Fury

Round 5

Usyk is just following Fury around and Tyson is doing all the scoring, and hurting Usyk to the body. Usyk complains of a low blow. Fury looks so confident. Usyk can't get near him. Another round for Tyson. 10-9 Fury

Round 6

Usyk is in trouble. A big uppercut rocks him back on his heels. Body punches have him looking pained. Fury left-right. Fury is dominant and way ahead at the halfway stage. 10-9 Fury

Round 7

Tyson continues the momentum by starting the round well. Then Usyk starts to have more success with his southpaw left. Fury remains behind the jab and continues to score with lead uppercuts. Usyk looks determined as the Ukrainian's supporters in the crowd get behind him, and gets through with a series of lefts. But Fury finishes the round on top. Usyk needs to produce something special here, he's far behind. 10-9 Fury

Round 8

The comeback is on. The supremely conditioned Usyk is starting to land more frequently. There is blood on Fury's face and Usyk's chest, caused by a punch from a resurgent Oleksandr. Then Usyk lands another cracking left. And a sweeping right. Fury is looking a little tired. His punch output is dropping and Usyk is starting to rally. 10-9 Usyk

Round 9

Fury gets back to his boxing but then is badly wobbled by a huge left and Usyk goes for the finish. Tyson staggers all over the ring, eyes glazed, desperately retreating, more hurt than he's ever been in his career. The big man slumps in a corner from his opponent's two fisted assault. The Gypsy King does not go down but takes a count and the bell saves him. 10-8 Usyk.

Round 10

Fury's legendary recovery powers get him through the round. He covers up under the Ukrainian's early attack and lands a few shots himself. But Usyk remains the aggressor and wins the session. 10-9 Usyk

Round 11

Tyson has weathered the storm and starts to pop out the jab again. Scores with a really good body shot. But Usyk is still closing the distance well and gets through with a series of single lefts, landing the more eye catching shots to win his fourth consecutive round. Usyk has levelled it up and whoever wins the final three minutes will be the winner on our card. 10-9 Usyk 

Round 12

It's a tense last round. Usyk piles on the pressure but Fury has his best round for some time. Tyson scores with two clean right handers and avoids many of Usyk's best shots to win the final round on all three judges' cards, and on ours too. 10-9 Fury

Beyond Radio's scorecard - Fury 114 Usyk 113 

Here are the judges' official scorecards. 

All three official judges agreed that Tyson won the 4th, 5th, 7th and 12th rounds. They agreed that Usyk won the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th rounds. There was disagreement on the other rounds, but the two point margin earned by Usyk for the 'knockdown' in round nine was the decisive factor. Without it, the fight would have ended in a draw. 

The Compubox punch stats, below, showed that while Fury threw more punches in the fight, Usyk landed more overall and more power punches. The champion was also more accurate over the 12 rounds, although many of the rounds were close in terms of punches landed. 

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