Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk fears rise as ref fails to address ‘dangerous’ issue | Boxing | sport

The heavyweight clash of Zhang Zhilei and Filip Hrgovic on the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk undercard threw the main event into question. The pair slipped and skidded around the ring as fans feared the worst for Joshua-Usyk II.

A buildup of humidity inside the King Abdullah Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has left the canvas in a treacherous state. In the co-feature attraction, both Hrgovic and Zhang struggled to stay upright as creaking noises could be heard audibly around the venue.

In the eleventh, Zhang fell on the seat of his trunks while Hrgovic nearly fell a lap later. Esteemed boxing writer, Chris McKenn took to Twitter and recommended that the canvas be changed ahead of the evening’s final showdown. “Usyk’s team should be looking for that canvas to change before the fight,” McKenna wrote.

While fans also expressed their displeasure online. “Watching the hrgovic fight, and something is a little dodgy about that ring, looks very slippery and there’s no water in the ring…might have to be careful of that when main event,” one fan tweeted.

Hrgovic is now the mandatory challenger for the IBF belt which is among the three main sanctioning body titles that Usyk and Joshua are vying for tonight.

Considering the quick turnaround between co-main and main, it looks like the organizers didn’t change the fighting surface. On a night that had so much drama, boxing fans around the world will be praying there won’t be a final twist in the headliner.



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