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Daniel Dubois saw his world title dreams wrecked when he was stopped by Oleksandr Usyk in the ninth round last night.
But the British heavyweight was left with a feeling of ‘what if?’ after a controversial call on a low blow helped Usyk on his way to retaining the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles on a rain-soaked night in Wroclaw.
Usyk was mesmerising and brilliant as he dominated for the majority of the bout before bringing an end to it with a right-hand jab. But Dubois was left angry after a borderline shot was judged to be a low blow by referee Luis Pabon in the fifth.
Usyk hit the deck when the shot landed but the Puerto Rican official immediately called it was low.
READ MORE: Oleksandr Usyk's huge net worth is 10 times boxing rival Daniel Dubois'
Dubois needed a dream shot to take the titles from Usyk and that seemed to be his moment gone as the brilliant Ukrainian re-asserted his dominance.
Carl Frampton said on TNT Sports: "When I saw it, it didn't look low to me. That was not a low blow. That was a body shot. He should have been counted out. Daniel Dubois should be unified heavyweight champion right now."
Usyk will have an IBF mandatory called to face Filip Hrgovic but many will hope that this win can finally set up an undisputed clash with WBC champion Tyson Fury.
Don’t hold your breath Dubois, 25, will certainly feel aggrieved as he said: “I didn’t think it was a low blow. I’ve been cheated out of victory.”
But the fight ended with the hero here having his hand raised, though. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a pre-fight message to the crowd to thank them and the support from around the world in their battle with Russia.
The 36-year-old Ukrainian was fighting in front of as close to a homecoming as possible here at the Tarczynski Arena with plenty of his compatriots roaring him on inside the Polish football stadium 300 miles from their country.
Usyk started on the front foot as he looked to establish his southpaw jab and kept Dubois thinking throughout the opening three minutes.
The London 2012 Olympic gold medallist dethroned Anthony Joshua of the WBA, IBF and WBO titles and he was showing his dominance over another Brit here.
The former undisputed cruiserweight king sent Dubois off balance with a left in the third.
Dubois tried to land a big uppercut but the reflexes of Usyk show little sign of waning despite him entering the latter part of his 30s.
The rain continued to pour down on the punters but it was Dubois whose hopes of an upset were dampened by the fifth-round controversy.
Dubois did manage to land a right in the fourth but Usyk was still bamboozling him with his faster hand speed and far better accuracy. It was still the best round so far in the bout for the challenger.
Then for a moment it looked like the upset was on.
Usyk hit the deck in the fifth but Pabon judged it was a low blow. That will be discussed for some time from Dubois’ team as it was a contentious call.
Usyk needed the full five minutes allowed to recover and when the action resumed, Dubois tried to pounce on him.
Lightning filled the air above the stadium as the entertaining battle continued with both men having success in the sixth. But Usyk went up a gear in the seventh and was landing at will.
He was happy to take risks and he had Dubois down at the end of the eighth after a flurry of shots including a left uppercut and a good body blow forced the Londoner to take a knee.
Dubois beat the count but he didn’t when the southpaw jab finished the bout in the ninth as the Brit suffered his second career defeat.
- Oleksandr Usyk
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