Oleksandr Usyk was down on the canvas hurt against Daniel Dubois and took over three minutes to recover.
Rather than being counted out, the referee immediately called the shot illegal and gave the champion the time he needed to get his wind back. Debate immediately kicked off as to where the shot landed and will rage on for some time.
In the aftermath, the Brit’s team have called the fight a robbery and Usyk a cheat. Promoter Frank Warren says he will appeal the result with the WBA and push for a rematch.
At the post-fight press conference, Usyk stood to demonstrate where his shorts were sitting in relation to his navel. He asked “How can I be guilty?” before playfully suggesting he come to the ring without shorts in his next fight.
Cutman Russ Anber, who was in the Ukrainian’s corner for the fight then stated ‘the belly button is the line.’
“Anything below that is a low blow. So if you’re hitting the pants, it’s not a legal blow.”
— Boxing on TNT Sports (@boxingontnt) August 27, 2023
Fans, fighters and pundits appear mixed on the subject, with many believing young Dubois has been extremely hard done by, but others claiming that the shot was borderline, could be called either way and that Usyk used him time to recover when given it.
There will be no definitive answer given, and both sides will likely remain frustrated without conceding a step.
What happened later in the fight was conclusive. After being dropped in the eighth, Dubois fell again from a right hand in the ninth and couldn’t stand for the referee’s ten-count.
If the sanctioning bodies do not see it fit to call for a rematch, Usyk moves ahead as unified champion to fight either his next mandatory, IBF’s Filip Hrgovic, or negotiate an undisputed fight with Warren-promoted Tyson Fury.