Oleksandr Usyk Recovers from a Wicked Body Punch to KO Daniel Dubois


On a rainy night at a 45,000-seat soccer stadium in Wroclaw, Poland, Oleksandr Usyk successfully defended his IBF, WBA, and WBO world heavyweight titles with a ninth-round KO of Daniel Dubois. It was a short right hand from the southpaw that brought the bout to a sudden conclusion at the 48-second mark of round nine. The punch knocked Dubois sideways where he took the count on all fours. Referee Luis Pabon reached the count of 10 just as it appeared thar Dubois would beat the count.

Usyk scored a knockdown in the final second of the previous round as he crowded Dubois with a series of glancing blows.

A heavy favorite in the 11/1 range, the Ukrainian was comfortably ahead on the cards through the completed frames, but yet the fight was not without controversy. In round five, Dubois collapsed Usyk with a punch that TV replays showed was right on the beltline, directly below the naval. Pabon ruled it a low blow and discouraged Usyk from resuming the fray until he had used up all the time allotted to him – the full five minutes.

Usyk, who improved to 21-0 (14 KOs), was making his twelfth straight start outside his native country. However, he had a home field advantage in Wroclaw as an estimated 250,000 Ukrainians now reside in Poland, many recent arrivals seeking refuge from the war.

Dubois, who declined to 19-2, had won four straight heading in after suffering his lone setback at the hands of Joe Joyce. Those wins came with Shane McGuigan in his corner. For this bout, he used Don Charles as his chief trainer, a man best known for his work with Derrek Chisora.

Dubois's promoter Frank Warren has demanded a rematch, insisting that his fighter was cheated by Pabon's actions. More than likely, nothing will come of it. For his next fight, Usyk is expected to fulfill his WBO mandatory which would pit him against the winner of the forthcoming rematch between Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang. That’s assuming that Team Usyk can’t successfully and quickly rekindle talks for a unification fight with WBC title-holder Tyson Fury.