Low blow or no low blow, the only likely rematch for Daniel Dubois would have taken place on the cobbles of this historic Polish city the Sunday morning after the fight before.
Oleksandr Usyk threw down that gauntlet as controversy swirled around the knockout victory which keeps him and Tyson Fury on track for a hugely enriching battle for the undisputed world heavyweight championship early next year.
‘If he really wants it again I will fight him tomorrow bare-fisted in the street,’ said the Ukrainian standard bearer for his country at war.
By the late, late hour when Usyk made that offer, Dubois had left the building ‘distraught at being cheated of my dream’.
The 25-year-old Brit’s promoter Frank Warren and his new trainer Don Charles took up the cudgels on his behalf.
Oleksandr Usyk (pictured) was knocked to the floor in the fifth round of Saturday’s bout against Daniel Dubois
Dubois (left) landed a contentious punch on the Ukrainian fighter, which the referee deemed to be below the belt
Usyk (left) was given a time out and allowed some time to recover after the punch had floored him
Warren said he will appeal for Saturday night’s ‘bull***t’ to be declared a no-contest and a re-run ordered, ideally in London. Good luck with that one, Frank.
Such an outcome is as improbable as the mission on which Dubois had embarked in a football stadium crammed to the reverberating rafters with 40,000 loyal patriots.
Charles reiterated that while they all hold Usyk in ‘full respect as a great champion’ he is ‘a cheat who faked it’. Those two rather incompatible statements came after a rancorous dispute over whether the body shot which sent the champion squirming to the canvas in the fifth round was above or below the belt.
‘Low,’ decreed referee Luis Pabon as he gave Usyk almost four minutes to recover and proceed with his demolition of Dynamite Dubois. ‘Legal,’ raged Team Dubois as they claimed it should have been his KO, in company with some cheerleaders with microphones and a majority of UK social media.
Much depends on the angle from which it was viewed. Dubois and Co went with one photograph which supports their case. Usyk and his men produced another which looks below the pale.
The uncomfortable truth from the British perspective is that it looked low as it happened and slow motion reruns make it no better than a 50-50 call. Thus the WBA will have to support their referee, not least since no part of the Dubois glove made contact with anything other than the shorts which Usyk wears low. The red line not to be crossed runs through the belly button.
The sub-plot is that Dubois was programmed to seek out a perceived flaw in the under-belly of the otherwise peerless Usyk. It was a strategy which brought with it the risk of straying below the law, if only by a matter of centimetres.
Did Usyk milk it by writhing in agony to buy a lengthy breather? No doubt.
But if Senor Pabon had started counting instead of admonishing Dubois, would Usyk have struggled to his feet in time, survived the round and still gone on to win? Very probably. Would he have deserved to do so? Absolutely.
The heavyweight champion (right) went on to defend his belts against Dubois, stopping him in the ninth round
After the bout, Dubois (pictured), who was also knocked down in the eighth round, said he had been ‘cheated’ out of the match
Usyk landed a right hand on his opponent to down him in the ninth round and retain his heavyweight belts
Although this was not quite the masterclass performance to which Usyk treated Anthony Joshua twice, he was so dominant that Dubois won no more than one of the rounds before he succumbed in the ninth.
Having just about beaten the count when floored in the eighth, Dubois never looked like doing so when dropped to his knees by one of those wicked straight rights in the ninth.
The raw nature of Usyk’s challenge to step outside and sort it out on the cobbles infers a suspicion that, never mind the belly button, Dubois may by then have lost the stomach for a prolonged fight.
When it was over, the pair engaged in heated exchanges in the Dubois corner.
He claimed he had been deprived of his rightful dues by Usyk’s exaggerated reaction to the most severe of several borderline blows to the body.
The older man, still wearing all the belts around that waist, replied: ‘This is boxing, not ballet dancing. But it is not allowed to hit a man in the balls.’
The big unanswered question now is where does Dubois go from here?
Usyk said: ‘He is still young and now he has this experience of a really big fight. Whether he can come back from this to win a world title depends on where he is mentally.’
Hopefully, after licking his wounds and putting it all into perspective, this likeable lad will be of right mind to come again.
After the match he called out Tyson Fury claiming that he was ‘ready’ to take on the Gypsy King
Fury (pictured) will not fight Francis Ngannou in October in Saudi Arabia but could come up against Usyk after that
Usyk knows what is next for him. Does he need Fury and to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era to complete his legacy of greatness?
‘Yes,’ he affirms. ‘I want him, if he wants it.’
That is for the Gypsy King to confirm after his October diversion into a cross-over fight with former UFC legend Francis Ngannou in the oil-rich fields of Saudi Arabia. If not, Usyk will accommodate another of his mandatory challengers, Croatia’s undefeated Filip Hrgovic.
Meanwhile, the under-belly furore has more legs to run. So was it low? Well, it came in the form of an uppercut which went through Usyk’s nether-regions.The very, very uncomfortable truth is that if I had been hit like that when the same age as Dubois, I very much doubt I would be a proud father and grandfather today.