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Tyson Fury suggests Oleksandr Usyk won championship bout thanks to judges’ feelings about Ukraine war

Tyson Fury suggested that the judges’ sympathies for Ukraine played a part in their decision to score his fight against Oleksandr Usyk in favor of his opponent in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Usyk defeated Fury via split decision. He knocked down Fury in the ninth round and claimed a narrow victory on two of the judges’ scorecards. Usyk became the first undisputed world heavyweight champion in 24 years, adding Fury’s WBC title to his waist, which already included the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.

Tyson Fury on the ropes

Tyson Fury, left, and Oleksandr Usyk trade blows during their world championship boxing fight at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

“I believe I won that fight,” Fury said. “I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority of them, and I believe it was one of those what-can-you-do, one of them… decisions in boxing. We both put on a good fight, best we can do.

“You know, his country is at war, so people are siding with a country at war. But make no mistake, I won that fight, in my opinion, and I’ll be back. I’ve got a rematch clause.”

Oleksandr Usyk celebrates

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after beating Britain’s Tyson Fury at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

RING ANNOUNCER RESIGNS FOLLOWING POST-FIGHT CONTROVERSY THAT SHOOK THE BOXING WORLD

Usyk won the fight 115-112 and 114-113 on two of the cards. The third judge gave Fury a 114-113 victory.

“It’s a great time. It’s a great day,” Usyk said.

The Ukrainian boxer started out fast against Fury, but the British star owned Usyk in the middle rounds. It wasn’t until the end of the fight that Usyk started to turn on the pressure, leading to the knockdown before Fury was saved by the bell.

“Thank you so much to my team,” Usyk said. “It’s a big opportunity for me, for my family, for my country. Slava Ukraini!”

Oleksandr Usyk punches Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury takes a blow from Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk during their fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Nick Potts/PA via AP)

He’s the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis. The boxing great held the titles for five months in 1999 and 2000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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