Joshua landed his first significant right hand in the fifth round, drawing a wry smile from Usyk, but it was clear that the champion had finally left his mark. He found another right hand on the bell for the end of the fifth.
Those shots forced Usyk onto his back foot in the sixth, when Joshua landed an even more solid right hand. Usyk ended the round with a black eye and a reddened face having felt his power.
Joshua’s confidence grew as he landed a left hook to the body but, when he went upstairs, Usyk shot back with venom.
Joshua was then sent staggering backwards, and he did well to maintain his footing, when Usyk clipped him with a left hand in an engrossing seventh.
Joshua thudded several powerful body punches home in the eighth – it was clear that the enigmatic Ukrainian was feeling the extra weight of the Brit in those shots.
Both fighters had substantial wounds by the 10th – Usyk was cut and had blood seeping into his eye, but more worryingly Joshua’s right eye was badly swollen.
Usyk’s fast start in the 11th had Joshua off-balance and in danger of tumbling over, although the champion did fire back.
Usyk was throwing more punches but Joshua was bravely standing his ground and trying gallantly to cling onto his titles.
Joshua was forced to desperately survive on the ropes as the final bell rang under an intense onslaught from Usyk. He stayed upright but it was not enough to salvage his second reign as champion.