Oleksandr Usyk stopped Daniel Dubois in the ninth round to retain his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles in Wroclaw, Poland, but there was at least some controversy in the bout thanks to a body shot ruled a low blow.
In round five, Dubois (19-2, 18 KO) dropped Usyk (21-0, 14 KO) on a body shot, which referee Luis Pabon — no stranger to questionable performances in his long career — quickly ruled a low blow.
Usyk went down from a shot that the referee ruled an accidental low blow. He was given the full five minutes to recover but looked in clear discomfort.
Dubois might have been denied a knockdown but on resumption he continued that onslaught, ferociously attacking Usyk’s body.
The Ukrainian’s resolve was sorely tested and Dubois’ aggression continued with the Briton unloading big shots.
Usyk was hurt. But eventually he recovered himself and stung Dubois with a sweeping left hook.
Rapid-fire punches caught Dubois high on the head, dropping him at the end of the eighth round.
In the ninth Usyk launched his lead right over the top and the Briton sank to a knee where the referee counted him out.
Dubois was defeated but enhanced his reputation immeasurably. He came in as the mandatory challenger for the WBA title but, although his punch power has always been clear, he had never beaten an elite-class opponent, having lost to Joe Joyce when his towering London rival stopped him in 2020.