It's time to say goodbye to all the talk about Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua. It won't be the big fight it deserves, even if it does happen.
Not after Oleksandr Usyk defeated Joshua to win the unified heavyweight championship. Joshua suffered his second career defeat with a stunning performance at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before more than 66,000 people. Not after Usyk appeared to be at the brink of stopping Joshua near the end of their fight.
The Ukrainian boxer was star-making in this performance. The 34-year old Usyk proved to be a great boxer, with heavyweight pop and a strong chin. The heavyweight division saw a new star Saturday, even though boxing lost its biggest fight.
Joshua must exact revenge on Fury if we ever see a Super Bowl-type heavyweight champion fight between Fury and Joshua.
It's not possible for me to see it happening. Joshua will be able to redeem himself. There is a rematch clause that must activate within 30 days. If he does that, Usyk may finish him the second round. Usyk will not come to fight night in a bad shape, unlike Ruiz. There was nothing suspicious about Saturday's victory.
This was top-notch boxing from Usyk. He beat his British counterpart and was, despite being smaller, the most heavy-handed fighter on the ring. Usyk was undisputed champion at cruiserweight at 200 pounds. However, he looked weak in his first bout at heavyweight -- a tough win over Derek Chisora in Oct.
Usyk was a strong performer on Saturday. He was agile and used many angles. He used double jabs and overhand lefts to hammer Joshua. Joshua suffered severe damage to his right eye and took a while to get up from the stool. Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, thinks that Joshua's eye socket may be severely damaged.
Oleksandr Usyk holds now three of the four heavyweight world championships in boxing. Julian Finney/Getty Images
Hearn stated that AJ didn't perform well. He looked tired throughout the fight.
"I believe the rematch will be very difficult, but there is absolutely no place to hide."
Joshua stated before the fight that he would use the rematch clause in the event of a loss, much like Ruiz did. Hearn stated after the fight that Joshua is still interested in the rematch despite being overpowered bell to bell.
More importantly, Joshua is unlikely to ever return to his position as one of two top heavyweights in the globe. It was surprising to witness him at 240lbs and try to outbox Usyk. It was not going to happen. As Joshua sat down on his stool, he was mentally beaten. Since Ruiz stopped Joshua, it has been obvious that his punch resistance and Joshua's confidence with his own chin are suspect.
Fury and Usyk are currently the heavyweight champions. Fury will face Deontay Wilder next month. Fury's third win was supposed to have put him in position for a high-stakes fight with Joshua in Saudi Arabia in 2022, which would bring both boxers nine-figure paydays.
Fury may turn to Dillian Whyte (a Brit boxer who has been waiting years for his chance at the WBC heavyweight title) after Joshua is defeated. This assumes Fury defeats Wilder once more.
The path ahead of Usyk is clearer. His path is clearer. He is now among the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Usyk is attempting to claim the No. The No. 2 spot in heavyweight is up for grabs, and the best fight for Usyk, the division, and the sport overall, would be a matchup against Fury-Wilder III.