Tyson Fury's shock claim after Oleksandr Usyk loss as Aussie reclaims boxing world title

Usyk has become the first undisputed heavyweight boxing world champion in 24 years.

Tyson Fury has made stunning claims that he actually won his mega-fight with Oleksandr Usyk and the Ukrainian was only awarded the victory because his country is at war. Usyk beat Fury by split decision on Sunday to become the first undisputed heavyweight boxing world champion in 24 years.

Usyk is now 22-0 and added Fury's WBC title to his own WBA, IBF and IBO belts with a spectacular late rally highlighted by a ninth-round knockdown. The Ukrainian prevailed in a back-and-forth bout between two previously unbeaten heavyweight champions in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury and Jai Opetaia.
Oleksandr Usyk (centre) beat Tyson Fury (L), while Jai Opetaia (R) won back his boxing world title. Image: Getty

Two judges favoured the 37-year-old Usyk (115-112 and 114-113), while the third gave it to Fury 114-113. "I believe I won that fight," Fury said afterwards. "I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority of them, and I believe it was one of those what-can-you-do, one of them ... decisions in boxing. We both put on a good fight, best we can do.

"You know, his country is at war, so people are siding with a country at war. But make no mistake, I won that fight, in my opinion, and I'll be back. I've got a rematch clause."

Usyk is the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis held the honour for five months in 1999 and 2000. He is also now the lineal heavyweight champion, after Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko to earn that distinction in 2015.

"It's a great time. It's a great day," Usyk said. "Thank you so much to my team. It's a big opportunity for me, for my family, for my country. Slava Ukraini!"

Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury.
Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury during their heavyweight boxing world championship fight.

Usyk rallied in the final rounds, taking control with a dominant eighth and nearly stopping 35-year-old Fury in the ninth. Fury (34-1-1) was hurt by a left hand and was sent sprawling into a corner in the final seconds of the round, with Usyk getting credit for a knockdown right before Fury was saved by the bell.

Fury made it to the 10th, but he struggled to mount a consistent attack after nearly getting stopped. Fury kissed Usyk on the head after the final bell, and later said he wants the rematch in October.

The victory sees Usyk join an elite club of fighters who held every major world championship belt at heavyweight. He is the first to do it in the four-belt era, which began in 2007.

The list of undisputed champions includes Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson. The most recent undisputed heavyweight champ was Lewis, who beat Evander Holyfield late in 1999 before a five-month reign.

Earlier, Jai Opetaia managed to restore Australian boxing order by reclaiming his world title in a bloody rematch with Mairis Briedis. Opetaia won a unanimous points decision (117-111, 116-112, 116-112) after Briedis, competing in his first fight since their first encounter nearly two years ago, accidentally head-butted Opetaia's nose in the 10th round and launched a late rally.

The 39-year-old Latvian also broke Opetaia's nose in two places in their last meeting, and found his range to have the 2012 Olympian on the ropes in the final two rounds. But the NSW product's early dominance made it an easy decision for the judges as he became the country's only current male world boxing champion.

"I watched this guy coming through, he's a true warrior," Opetaia said of his opponent. "I broke his nose, he broke mine, we kept punching on. I could hear the pain in his punches, I take my hat off to him. We knew we were in for a tough fight ... ready for 12 rounds of war and that's what we got."

Jai Opetaia and Mairis Briedis.
Jai Opetaia (R) won back his world title from Mairis Briedis.

with AAP