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'Was there an injury? Was there an operation?' - Eddie Hearn Questions Usyk Health for Usyk vs Dubois

Promoter Eddie Hearn has expressed his belief that Oleksandr Usyk displayed a subpar performance against Daniel Dubois, despite securing victory in each round.

In Poland, the Ukrainian defended his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles against the 25-year-old British boxer. Following a contentious low blow ruling in the fifth round, Usyk rebounded to achieve a stoppage win in the ninth round.

After the knockdown, Usyk seemed to adopt a more aggressive approach, deviating from his usual emphasis on movement, a style less observed since his transition to the heavyweight division. Speculation arose regarding whether this change was due to frustration over perceived low blows or a desire to avoid body shots from Dubois. Hearn, however, offers an alternate perspective.

During an interview on the Matchroom YouTube channel, Hearn questioned whether Usyk was truly in optimal fighting condition for this title defense. Hearn observed what he considered sluggish footwork and signs of fatigue from the outset of the match. He even suggested that Usyk appeared to have aged in the ring. Hearn pondered whether the pressure of fighting in his home country might have affected Usyk, given his limited experience in such circumstances.

Hearn raised further questions about the possibility of an injury or physical ailment impacting Usyk’s performance. He found it puzzling that Usyk, who typically favors a more mobile style, chose to fight in a smaller ring. Hearn speculated that such a choice could indicate an issue with Usyk’s movement or strategy, which is unusual given his history. Despite these concerns, Hearn acknowledged that Usyk did manage to win every round.

In a subsequent conversation with Boxing Social, Hearn expressed surprise upon learning that the ring size was 20×20, not as small as he initially believed. He maintained his stance that Usyk’s performance appeared less polished and dynamic than in previous outings.

“I thought Usyk didn’t look himself from the first bell. I thought his feet looked slow, I thought he looked tired, I thought [it was] like he’d aged. Was it the pressure of fighting pretty much at home? He hasn’t done that very often at all?

Was he injured? … Why use a small ring? Whenever I see a fighter that like to move use a small ring it tells me they’ve got a problem. It tells me they don’t wanna move a lot. Which is very unusual for Usyk, cause if you’re fighting Daniel Dubois I think you’d like a bigger ring.

“Was there an injury? Was there an operation? I don’t know. Listen, he still won every round.”

Hearn’s observations could potentially offer insight to future opponents, starting with IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. The Croatian heavyweight has shown no willingness to step aside to accommodate a Tyson Fury undisputed fight. This opens the door for challenging bouts on Usyk’s horizon.

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