By Mauricio Sulaimán
President of the WBC – Son of José Sulaimán

After the storm came calm, following the memorable and momentous battle between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Here is my analysis of the facts.

Fury, from England, faced Usyk, from Ukraine, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in what is already considered one of the great fights in history, compared to Ali-Frazier, Ali-Foreman or Tyson-Holyfield, among other legendary fights.

Both were fighting for the UNDISPUTED, but more so Fury for redemption and legacy while Usyk for his country and Ukrainian strength.

The promotion as the jewel of the glittering Riyadh Season, with the leadership of Turki Alalshik, was something never seen before. The previous production of short films, art related to combat, and the production of the event itself in the Kingdom Arena was spectacular. The atmosphere that was generated was magical and the fight exceeded all expectations.

What had to happen for this fight to take place?

A multimillion-dollar negotiation, with the largest purses ever seen before for both boxers, flexibility of the four organizations (WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA) so that both men could stake their championships and the fight would be for the undisputed title.

Countless meetings and communications were held to address detailed issues, bringing and drawing all parties to a culminating agreement.

Determining which Boxing Commission would be in charge of the fight was a titanically complex task, since Saudi Arabia does not have one established, and said entity would have to be neutral. It was finally agreed that the MEPBC (Middle East Professional Boxing Commission) would be in charge. Then came the issue of judges and referees, a long process that was still pending in the swing of the pendulum until the last moment.

The rules of combat, mainly the issue of video replay, led to arduous discussions and keen debates, the hand bandages, the gloves. In short, many inputs to produce the final output.

The fight was scheduled to take place in February, but Tyson Fury was deeply cut during a sparring session and due to this accident, it all had to be rescheduled for May 18.

In February, something historic happened that gave a unique context to this great fight. The Holy Father, Pope Francis blessed the commemorative belt of the fight. The undisputed belt was in the hands of the Pope, who gave his blessing to both boxers and named it the Fight for Peace. This happened during a hearing that my brother Héctor and I had, thanks to our beloved Adrián Pallarols.

Tempers the week of the fight were fizzing, sparking, fusing and sometimes incandescent; There was even an unfortunate brawl at the headquarters hotel when the teams of both warriors met, and Fury’s father head-butted a member of Usyk’s team, which generated a hostile, edgy atmosphere for the rest of the week.

The world closely, intently, and intensely followed the actions on the DAZN platform. Already in the arena, at one in the morning after a sensational musical performance, came the walk in, the entrance of the boxers, simply spectacular, followed by the emotional anthems of both nations. Finally, an empty ring, Fury in his corner, Usyk in his, and the referee standing between them, all waiting with bated breath for the clang of the opening bell.

Usyk came out aggressively, but the first two rounds saw relatively little effective action from either.

Fury dominated the third, fourth and fifth rounds. He upped the tempo in the sixth and seventh, connecting hard and cutting the eyebrow and evidently hurting the Ukrainian with ramrod jabs, uppercuts, and snapping hooks that led to the feeling that the fight was close to reaching its conclusion with a victory for the giant Fury against an Usyk who looked diminished and tired.

The minute of rest arrived at the end of the seventh, and one of the most incredible things I have experienced in boxing and life happened. Usyk’s coach, Yurii Tkachenko, knelt in front of him and asked him, “Do you want the crucifix?” “Yes,” he answered. He then brought the cross that was hanging on his chest to him, and he kissed it.

The eighth round radically and dramatically changed the course of the fight, as Usyk landed a bludgeoning left hook that exploded on Fury’s nose, which began to bleed profusely. Tyson made the mistake of blowing his nose, and this caused inflammation in his right eye, as well. The ninth round erupted. Fury was on the verge of knockout defeat when he was clobbered with combinations, being hit all over the ring, knocked from pillar to post, until he finally staggered and rightly, the referee counted it as an official knockdown. It seemed like the end of the fight was neigh … but then the bell rang.

The strength, courage, and divine inspiration that Usyk received when kissing his crucifix will remain as a testimony of how faith can move mountains.

The impeccable work of Russ Anber in Usyk’s corner, who staunched and controlled the bleeding from the wound, was also a fundamental element.

The last three rounds were extremely dramatic. The ghost of the knockout was a specter of expectation, but Fury’s bravery, stout heart, and savvy boxing skill even led him to hurt Usyk again, until the final bell rang.

They merged into a bearhug, and Fury kissed his now new friend’s forehead after 12 rounds of intense, bruising combat. This is the sheer beauty of this sport. The spirit and essence of its heart and soul. The tension that existed prior to the official announcement announced by Michael Buffer was chilling, enwrapped in the muffled cloak of a deafening silence, if you know what I mean. That expectation drew and magnetized total attention: 115-112, for Usyk; 114-113 for Fury, and 114-113 for the split decision winner, Oleksandr Usyk!

The judging will always be in question. There are so many factors involved in order to understand, and thus analyze what happens in the scores given by the three official judges of the fights. I invite you to watch my podcast that precisely touches on this particular topic, it lasts 15 minutes and is highly illustrative:


There are those who have questioned and even criticized judge Craig Metcalfe’s score, as he scored 114-113, in favor of Fury. After a detailed analysis, it turns out that everything was resolved in round 11. This episode was scored 10-9 in favor of Fury. Judge Fitzgerald, whose final score was 114-113 in favor of Usyk: he scored the eleventh episode 10-9 in favor of Usyk. It was a close round, difficult to score. If judge Fitzgerald had scored this round in favor of Fury, his final score would have been 114-113, in favor of Fury. With this simple analysis any accusation against Craig Metcalfe is ruled out. He is an honorable person and deserves respect, since he is a great ring official.

Round By Round Simple Analysis:

  • Round 1: Moderate round for Usyk – landing a few blows – 3 judges 10-9 Usyk
  • Round 2: Close round – 2 judges for Fury, 1 Usyk
  • Round 3: Close round – 2 judges for Usyk, 1 Fury
  • Round 4: Moderate round for Fury – Landed and dominated – 2 judges for Fury, 1 Usyk
  • Round 5: Decisive round for Fury – Landed and dominated – 3 judges for Fury
  • Round 6: Decisive round for Fury – Tremendous punches landed – 3 judges for Fury
  • Round 7: Decisive round for Fury – Hurt and dominated completely – 3 judges for Fury
  • Round 8: Moderate round for Usyk – Landed huge and bled Fury – 3 judges for Usyk
  • Round 9: Extreme decisive for Usyk – Huge damage and knockdown – 3 judges for Usyk 10-8
  • Round 10: Moderate for Usyk – Kept momentum from round 9, little action – 3 judges for Usyk
  • Round 11: Close round – A punch in last 5 seconds of round had impact – 2 judges for Usyk 1 Fury
  • Round 12: Close round – Fury more active and landed few more punches – 3 judges Fury


  • Very close fight.
  • Consensus scoring, round by round by the 3 officials judges 114-113 Usyk.
  • Some close rounds which could be scored either way.


One of the last initiatives my dear father managed to implement in boxing was the open scoring rule. This means that after the fourth and eighth rounds, the judges’ official scores are given to both corners, and in some jurisdictions, such are publicly announced. This concept has been implemented in the vast majority of the world with the exception of the United States and England. There are countless examples of fighters who have said after losing a fight, that if they had but known they were down on the scorecards, they would have changed their strategy, redoubled their efforts, and closed stronger. Boxing is the only sport in which the boxers and their teams have zero idea about the score throughout the complete event. In gymnastics and diving, the scores are shown after each performance, thus allowing the athlete to decide the level and grade of difficulty for their next performance which could give them a higher score.

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