Highlights: Usyk knocks out Dubois, controversy on body shot


Oleksandr Usyk stopped Daniel Dubois in the ninth round to retain his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles in Wroclaw, Poland, but there was at least some controversy in the bout thanks to a body shot ruled a low blow.

In round five, Dubois (19-2, 18 KO) dropped Usyk (21-0, 14 KO) on a body shot, which referee Luis Pabon — no stranger to questionable performances in his long career — quickly ruled a low blow.

Being fair to Pabon, he had to make a flash judgment without any benefit of various slow motion angle replays, and those replays showed it to be questionable. On the belt line, sure, but all belt lines are not equal depending on where fighters have them.

From our vantage point, it looked like a judgment call, not something so clear either way that it requires widespread shouting that Dubois was robbed, and it certainly wasn’t intentional. But it will be discussed, and quite a bit.

Another thing that will be discussed is that Pabon basically forced Usyk to take very close to the full five minutes of allowed recovery time, something you never see, and Usyk was adamant that he was ready to continue a fair bit ahead of that. He took his time to recover, which is his right, but when he said he was ready to go, Pabon denied his request and made him keep waiting. Of the two refereeing decisions in question, this one seems stranger and more eyebrow-raising to me, but that’s me.

Otherwise, this was simply a good fight, one where the 25-year-old Dubois did quite well against a far more experienced, far more technically skilled opponent, and the 36-year-old Usyk kept plugging away, amping up the pressure bit-by-bit, before he put Dubois down on a combination late in round eight.

Dubois didn’t really recover from that, and Usyk finished him off with a short, pretty shot at 48 seconds of round nine, with Pabon reaching the count of 10. Dubois did get to his feet, but the fight was stopped there.

After all was said and done, Usyk first made clear to Pabon that he did not want to be told to keep waiting back in round five, then went over and was extremely encouraging to Dubois, basically telling him that he’s young, and not to let this setback keep him from continuing on strong.

And Dubois did show a lot of real promise here, a lot to like in this performance. He got out-boxed and beaten, but by a master boxer, not just some guy. There really is plenty of reason for Dubois to feel overall encouraged about his future.

As for Usyk, obviously the hope is he’ll get Tyson Fury next. If he doesn’t, then Filip Hrgovic will be next up in the mandatory roundabout.

Usyk vs Dubois highlights

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