Britain’s Daniel Dubois survived a huge scare, coming back after being knocked down three times in the first round to beat South Africa’s Kevin Lerena and retain his WBA (regular) heavyweight belt.
The 25-year-old Brit achieved the feat in front of 60,000 fans packed into Tottenham Hotspur’s North London stadium.
It would have been Dubois’s second defeat of his career.
But he suffered what appeared to be a knee injury in a horrendous opening three minutes.
However, after regaining his composure in the second, Dubois, who has gained 18 of his 19 victories inside the distance, caught Lerena in the third, sending him to the canvas.
Lerena got up, but it was the signal for a barrage of punches from Dubois as the home favourite sensed this was his moment.
A truly brilliant uppercut – which drew gasps from the fans when replayed on the stadium’s four big screens – rocked Lerena’s head back and the South African was on the verge of going down again when referee Howard Foster moved in to stop it.
A loss for Dubois would not only have seen him lose his WBA regular belt, but end his hopes of fighting Usyk in the future.
It was a superb recovery as he showed great character to turn this fight around in such dramatic style.
“It was amazing. He caught me on the top of my head. I feel my knee went,” Dubois told BT Sport Box Office.
“But I have the heart of a warrior, and I just thought, calm down.
“I was looking for shots that weren’t there, I had to recover and come back out. I saw the opening, went for it and the rest is history.
“I felt a bit rusty, like I wasn’t there in the first round, but at least I was able to land my shots.
“I’ve never boxed in front of as many people, hopefully many more to come.”