Oleksandr Usyk has claimed a controversial win to retain his heavyweight boxing titles, stopping British challenger Daniel Dubois in the ninth round of their bout in Wrocław, Poland.
- Usyk knocked Dubois down in the ninth round when the bout was stopped
- Dubois claims he was "cheated out of victory" after Usyk hit the canvas in the fifth round
- Usyk now has a 21-0 professional record
The bout featured a disputed low blow that gave Ukrainian Usyk time to recover.
Fighting for the first time in more than a year and cheered on by fans waving Ukrainian flags, Usyk knocked down Dubois in the eighth round.
Referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight when Usyk dumped Dubois again in the ninth with a stiff right to the jaw.
The fight was halted in the fifth round for what Pabon ruled was a low blow by Dubois that sent Usyk to the canvas.
Replays showed the punch hitting around Usyk's belt.
It was not given as a knockdown, nor were any points deducted from Dubois, and Pabon told Usyk: "Take your time."
The Ukrainian seemed to lack some of his usual speed after that as Dubois continued to target the body, but he recovered to knock down Dubois twice and take the win.
Dubois said he was "cheated out of victory tonight" over the low-blow call. His promoter Frank Warren suggested there could be a rematch.
Usyk remained unbeaten at 21-0 after his second defence of the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he took from Anthony Joshua in 2021 and held after a rematch a year later.
Dubois's win-loss record dropped to 19-2.
It was only Usyk's fifth career fight at heavyweight and his fourth in a row against British boxers.
The win could mean a new push for a unification fight with WBC titleholder Tyson Fury to crown the heavyweight division's first undisputed champion since 2000.
Talks to stage that fight collapsed this year, prompting Usyk to take on Dubois, the WBA mandatory challenger.
Fury has a non-title bout with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia in October.
Another potential opponent for Usyk could be unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgović, the IBF mandatory challenger.