Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk: Scorecards show AJ was winning the fight before eye injury

Anthony Joshua was up on the scorecards after eight rounds against Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua was shockingly ahead on the judges' scorecards before he suffered a nasty eye injury in the ninth round against Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua, 31, lost his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles after a surprise defeat to the Ukrainian at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday. 

The Brit was the heavy favourite going into the bout but struggled to keep Usyk at bay as he ultimately had no answers for his ringcraft on the night. 

The majority of boxing fans felt Usyk was ahead and completely dominating when Joshua suffered a nasty eye injury in the ninth round which all but ended his chances of winning the fight. 

Judge Viktor Fesechenko had Usyk 77-76 in front, while Steve Weisfield had it level at 76-76 apiece.

But somehow judge Howard Foster had the Watford boxer 77-75 up after the eighth.  

According to Foster, Joshua won the first, second, fifth, sixth and eighth rounds, meaning he was ahead on the three judges' total scorecards by a single point heading into the final quarter of the fight.

Had the fight been prematurely stopped due to an accidental head clash, Joshua may very well have left the stadium with the belts still in his possession.

As it was, however, Usyk ended up walking away with all the spoils. 

Howard Foster had Anthony Joshua leading Oleksandr Usyk

Meanwhile, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn believes Joshua was just beaten by the better man on the night.  

Hearn told iFL TV: "I feel gutted, but I feel just when you get beat like that by an unbelievable performance by a pound-for-pound genius, I don't know what else you can do. 

"You've just got to dust yourself down and be better. I don't think it was a great performance from AJ but that may well have been because Usyk was so bloody good. 

"So yes, there's loads of things he can do differently, but putting them into play is going to be something that is hard to do."

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Hearn was also asked if it was fair to compare Joshua's most recent setback to his surprise defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr

He added: "Not really because like, losing to Ruiz, I mean after eight rounds AJ is winning the fight on the scorecards and then Usyk wins every round, nine, ten, eleven and twelve, and closes the fight up. 

"That's the championship rounds, that's the experience of Oleksandr Usyk, AJ couldn't see in the ninth, but he got outmanoeuvred, he got out-skilled at times, he didn't do enough, he didn't close him down enough, he didn't hurt him, he didn't jump on.

"When he lost to Ruiz, it was like [shock]. But all this build-up, we knew this was possible if he didn't get it right, and he didn't get it right.  

"You can break it down in the manner of the defeat - he lost to an unbelievable fighter, top three pound-for-pound in the world, probably No. 2, there's no disgrace in that.

"Just give him the credit for not throwing his belt in the bin and choosing to fight Oleksandr Usyk, his mandatory challenger.

Could've swerved it, in fact that's what we joked about in the changing room, probably should have swerved it, but is that what you want, you know?

"And that's why he will take the rematch because he wouldn't do anything else." 

Read More: Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk LIVE RESULTS: AND THE NEW! Usyk beats AJ by UD

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