By Eric Armit

HIGHLIGHTS from the past week of action 

Oleksandr Usyk floored (round nine) and won a split decision over Tyson Fury to unify the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC and WBO titles to become undisputed heavyweight champion.

Australian Jai Opetaia scored a unanimous points victory over Mairis Briedis for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title.

IBO super-featherweight champion Anthony Cacace stopped IBF champion Joe Cordina to unify the titles.

Denys Berinchyk won a unanimous decision against Emanuel Navarrete for the vacant WBO lightweight title.

Brian Norman floored Giovani Santillan twice to win the interim WBO welterweight title.

German heavyweight Agit Kabayel stopped unbeaten Frank Sanchez.

Robin Sirwan Safar floored and outpointed former light-heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev.

Also, in Saudi Arabia, there were wins for Mark Chamberlain, Moses Itauma and  Isaac Lowe.

Richard Torrez, Emiliano Vargas, Alan Garcia, and Jonathan Lopez won on the San Diego show.

Jin Sasaki halted Joe Noynay for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles.

Karen Chukhadzhian scored a points win over Harry Scarff in their IBF welterweight eliminator.

Flavius Biea and Ronald Gavril scored wins in Romania.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – MAY 18: Tyson Fury punches Oleksandr Usyk during the IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO and Undisputed Heavyweight titles’ fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk at Kingdom Arena on May 18, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Who won the week?

Most significant: Usyk’s win over Fury was for the heavyweight and undisputed championship! Say no more.

Most entertaining: Usyk vs. Fury not only lived up to but probably exceeded expectations.

Fighter of the week: Usyk for his historic victory. Honourable mention to Fury for his part in the great fight.

Punch of the week: The Usyk right that shook Fury so badly in the ninth was a thunderbolt. Additionally, the uppercut from Brian Norman that finished Giovani Santillan and the shot from Mark Chamberlain that sent Joseph Wahab down for the first time.

Upset of the week: Brian Norman did not look like a danger to WBO No. 1 Santillan going in.

Prospect watch: New Zealand cruiserweight David Nyika, 9-0, is one to watch.

Fight card observations

Rosette: Usyk and Fury for rising to the occasion.

Red Card: In advance to the IBF, who it is anticipated, will soon strip Usyk of their title for not fighting the mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic.

One long unbeaten run had to go. As far as I know the last time Usyk lost a fight was way back in 2009 when he was outpointed by Egor Mekhontsev in the semi-finals of the World Championships and Fury in 2007 by Maxim Babanin in the final at the European Youth Championships – but I (Eric) could be wrong!

What a good night for Ukraine. Usyk won the heavyweight title, Berinchyk won the WBO lightweight title, light-heavyweight Daniel Papin scored a first-round KO and welterweight Karen Chukhadzhian won an IBF eliminator (on Friday night).

May 18

Agit Kabayel slayed Frank Sanchez to the body

Kabayel battered the Cuban hope to defeat in seven rounds. Sanchez was already tiring by the fifth and throwing just single sweeping punches and spending most of the time against the ropes with Kabayel teeing off on him with left hooks to the body and overhand rights.

Sanchez offered very little in return whilst Kabayel bombarded him with punches. The seventh was more of the same until a couple of body shots saw Sanchez drop to his haunches, not actually down but given a count. He stood up at seven, then dropped again from a left jab to the body and was counted out. Kabayel pushed himself into the heavyweight mix in a big way. 

Mark Chamberlain cashed out the Wealth Machine

Southpaw Chamberlain blew away Joshua “Wealth Machine” Wahab in the first round. Chamberlain immediately took control, firing strong right jabs with Wahab looking to duck inside. Late in the round, Chamberlain followed his jab with a thunderous straight left that floored Wahab. Wahab made it to his feet and after the eight count, Chamberlain landed a left that drove Wahab into a corner, crashing to the floor on his side. The referee waved the fight over with Wahab needing some medical attention before fully recovering.  

Heavyweight hope Richard Torrez Jr stepped up against Brandon Moore

Over in San Diego, Torrez beat Moore in five rounds. Torrez was his usual ultra-aggressive self. Moore tried to box behind his southpaw jabs but lacked the punch to stem Torrez’s swarming attacks. Moore was having a good spell in the fifth but as he threw a right, a left hook from Torrez sent him careering across the ring. 

Torrez followed Moore and then unleashed a barrage of punches that dropped him. Moore only just beat the count and was stumbling and dazed under a fierce attack when the referee came in to end the fight.

Lee McGregor made light work of Moya

Former British, European, and Commonwealth champion McGregor made a winning return, stopping young Colombian Jorge Moya in the second round. 

McGregor showed no sign of rust as he put Moya down with a body punch in the second. Moya made it to his feet but was in no condition to continue. 

Lee McGregor (Warren Little/Getty Images)

No complaints, as Karen beats Scarff 

Karen Chukhadzhian outpointed Harry Scarff in an IBF eliminator. Scarff made a good start switching guards, putting Chukhadzhian under pressure. Chukhadzhian used speed and skill to outbox Scarff, who made his pressure tell over the fourth, fifth and sixth. Chukhadzhian threw plenty of body shots and dealt with a cut.

Chukhadzhian had that bit more left in the tank and he staged the stronger finish to emerge the winner on scores of 116-112 on the cards of each of the three judges. So many rounds were close that it could have been called the other way with no grounds for complaint.

MAY 18 

“Shortdog” gives short shrift to Oquendo challenge

Jordan White blasted out former title challenger Jonathan Oquendo-Arnaldi in the first round. As the smaller Oquendo piled forward, White caught him with a left hook that sent him down. Oquendo got up but was rocked by another left hook and was taking punishment against the ropes when the referee stopped the fight. 

Now 13 wins in a row for White. Oquendo, 40, had shots at the WBA feather and WBO super-featherweight belts, but this was only his second fight in almost four years.