Tyson Fury claims judges sided with Oleksandr Usyk because of war in Ukraine

Tyson Fury hugs Oleksandr Usyk
Tyson Fury congratulates Oleksandr Usyk but maintains he won the fight - Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Tyson Fury appeared to claim in the ring that he lost his showdown with Oleksandr Usyk because the judges sided with the Ukrainian over the war in Ukraine.

Fury’s quest to become undisputed world heavyweight champion ended in defeat by split decision on an enthralling night in Riyadh.

But later at the news conference, Fury batted the question off. While Fury addressed a packed press room, Usyk was taken to hospital for a precautionary MRI scan, not unusual after brutal fights, and attended the conference an hour later.

Fury explained: “It’s not up to us. The judges make the decision. I can’t complain. I thought I did enough to win, but it’s one loss in a very close fight. I tried my best, I enjoyed it, he caught me, I caught him. I thought he nicked one of the first six rounds.”

Fury in action against Usyk
Fury in action against Usyk - Getty Images/Mohammed Saad

Speaking in the ring afterwards, Fury had said: “I believe I won that fight. I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won majority of them. And I believe it was – what can you do? – one of them decisions in boxing. We’ve both put on a good fight. Best we could do. And, you know, his country’s at war. So people are siding with a country at war. But make no mistake, I’ve won that fight in my opinion, and I’ll be back. We’ve got a rematch clause.

“You know, I thank Jesus for all the victories he’s given me. I’ve dropped a split decision to the good little man, and I thank him again in the mighty name of Jesus. We go back home to our families and we’ll run it back in October.”

Fury appeared to have taken control midway through the fight but Usyk came on strong and swung the contest in his favour with a powerful ninth round in which the Briton was saved by the bell. Alex  Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter, claimed the referee Mark Nelson “stopped Usyk getting a knockout victory” by counting Fury in the ninth round, as the Briton staggered into the ropes (see below).

“I thought Usyk won 7-5 in rounds and with the knockdown round it was pretty conclusive,” added Krassyuk.

Usyk landed with hard left hands – his most effective punch of the contest – and had Fury in serious trouble and once a standing count had finished, the three minutes was up to spare the pre-fight favourite any further damage.

That moment swung the fight in the Ukrainian’s favour and although Fury recovered, Usyk had found ascendancy in the last third of the battle to claim a split decision 115-112 and 114-113 on two scorecards, with the third judge seeing it as 114-113 against the Gypsy King. Your correspondent scored it 114-113 in favour of Usyk.

The two men will battle again in October.

Usyk with Ukraine flag
Fury said the judges sided with Usyk out of sympathy for Ukraine - Getty Images/Richard Pelham

“I’m not thinking about it right now, but I still love it.”  Usyk, meanwhile, said: “Thank you so much, my God, Jesus. Mister Excellency, thank you. It’s big opportunity for me, for my family, for my country. It’s a great day for me and a great day for my country, Slava Ukraine.”

“I don’t care about the referee in round nine – we won the fight. I don’t think about it. But no problem no KO. But there was big drama in the ninth round... but I have to say thank you to my team. I love you.”