Oleksandr USYK stole Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight belt at the Brit star’s home turf on Saturday night – only to give him straight back.
AJ, 31, lost his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles after being stunned by Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
I Joshua vs Usik Live: Follow all post-fight reactions
The 34-year-old Ukrainian looked to be dominant as he clinched a unanimous points victory, seemingly abandoning dreams of a £500million showdown with Joshua’s teammate Brit Tyson Fury.
But as the two fighters exchanged crunching blows in the ring, they continued to show their incredible mutual respect.
After the bout, Usyk posed in the ring with his news belt on to become the new Heavyweight Champion.
But the former cruiserweight immediately walked into the changing room to give AJ the straight back.
Despite the defeat, Joshua will get to keep the belt, sending Usyak afresh.
And Brit will desperately kickstart his ‘road to undisputed’, vowing to fight Fury in the future.
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After his defeat, Joshua claimed: “The road to undisputed and all things, it is good.
“As I said, I will fight Tyson Fury, (Deontay) Wilder without a belt.
“Belts are fun. It’s great, it’s legacy. But with or without a belt, I’d fight anyone.
“The Road to Undisputed is a good title and a good title to pursue.
“But would you still see it without a belt?
“That’s the main thing – do you have two competing fighters in the ring from UK soil who just want to go toe-to-toe.”
Despite having an eye on Fury, AJ is itching to set the record straight first and wrestle his belt back from Usyak.
Asked if he planned to activate his rematch clause, a defiant Joshua roared: “100 percent. 110 percent.
“I’m ready to go back to training.
“With 12 rounds, my lungs and everything, it was a good 12-rounder, so when I get back to training I’ll be in a good place where we left off.”