Major controversy as Oleksandr Usyk beats Daniel Dubois after ‘low blow’ body shot

Usyk was granted four minutes to recover from a ‘low blow’ in Round 5 – a punch that appeared to land legally

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Sunday 27 August 2023 11:37 BST
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Oleksandr Usyk retained the unified heavyweight titles against Daniel Dubois on Saturday, in a hugely controversial fight in Poland.

Usyk dropped Dubois at the end of the eighth round and did the same midway through the ninth, with referee Luis Pabon waving off the bout after the second knockdown. However, many viewers felt that Dubois was denied a genuine knockout win in the fifth round.

Ukrainian Usyk crumpled to the mat after a right hook to the body by Dubois, with the punch appearing to land right on the belt line. However, Pabon ruled it an illegal shot, suggesting it was a low blow.

Rules dictate that a fighter is allowed five minutes to recover from such a punch, and Usyk, 36, used four of them before resuming the main event in Wroclaw’s Tarczynski Arena. Usyk even told Pabon that he was ready to continue after approximately three minutes, but the referee urged the southpaw to take more time.

In the following rounds, Usyk turned the screw, fighting well behind his jab and increasingly crafting combinations that troubled Dubois. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old was warned on two more occasions for landing body shots that appeared to be legal.

The Briton then hit the mat after a flurry of straight shots from Usyk at the end of the eighth round, before going down again due to a short punch in the ninth. Although Dubois made it back to his feet, he could not beat Pabon’s count, and the fight was waved off.

Usyk then spoke to Dubois in the ring, paying respect to the beaten challenger, who said in an interview moments later: “I didn’t think that was a low blow. I thought that landed, and I’ve been cheated out of victory tonight. But, you know, what else can I say?”

Usyk celebrates retaining the unified heavyweight titles against Dubois

Usyk’s victory kept him unbeaten and saw him retain the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles.

Meanwhile, Dubois was beaten for the second time as a professional, with his only previous loss coming at the hands of Joe Joyce via TKO in 2020.

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