Oleksandr Usyk reacts to referee controversy in Tyson Fury fight, gets emotional at presser

Oleksandr Usyk came razor close to knocking out Tyson Fury in the ninth round of Saturday’s blockbuster heavyweight unification bout.

Rather than allowing Usyk to continue teeing off on a badly hurt Fury, however, referee Mark Nelson ultimately stepped in between the fighters and gave Fury a standing 10-count, after which the bell rang to end the round, giving Fury another 60 seconds to recover.

In the end, Usyk eked out a split decision victory to become boxing’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999, which is why Usyk didn’t spend too much time lamenting Nelson’s decision to save Fury from a possible knockout.

“I don’t think about it,” Usyk said at the event’s post-fight press conference. “Because we are the winner. I don’t think about it. Because we have the win. No knockout, no problem. But [now] it’s a big drama.”

Nothing came easy for Usyk over 12 rounds after a fast start gave way to Fury storming back and taking a lead on the scorecards. The momentum shifted again in that ninth round after Usyk earned a 10-8 score for the credited knockdown, but even after that, Fury refused to fade away.

After the decision was announced, Fury proclaimed that he deserved the victory but he’ll ultimately bide his time until he can cash in on his automatic rematch later this year.

For his part, Usyk didn’t really feel like dissecting the scorecards, especially since, much like Fury, he’s confident in his victory.

“No, I don’t worry,” Usyk said. “I don’t know why. Because I believe that I won. I do good work. I don’t worry.”

As far as the rematch goes, Fury has already called for the fight to get booked in October, which was a timeline the fighters mentioned even before setting foot in the ring.

No matter who walked away with the win, the losing boxer had a contractually obligated rematch as part of the agreement to book the fight. Of course, Fury could potentially pass on a rematch next because it’s now his decision to make.

Just don’t expect Usyk to lose any sleep waiting on Fury to decide what he wants.

“I don’t think about boxing now,” Usyk said. “Please, because my start was September 2023, it’s nine months I worked. I missed happy New Year, I missed [my son’s birthday]. I missed my [other son’s birthday]. I missed [my daughter’s birthday]. I missed the birth of my daughter. I missed all of my family holidays. Time training, training, training, my focus was only this fight.

“Now, I’m happy. I want to go back home, go to my church, pray, I want to say Jesus thank you. Because for me and my country, it’s a big opportunity. I’m grateful for [all those who] pray for me because it’s many people, a lot of many people, thank you so much.”

Usyk also became emotional while remembering his father, who died shortly after his gold-medal winning performance at the 2012 Olympic Games.

That clip can be watched below.

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