After moving up to heavyweight, Oleksandr Usyk has become one of the go-to names for fight fans discussing future champions. Despite having participated in only one bout at his new weight so far, Usyk brings a wealth of experience to the table and quality performances not only from his reign at cruiserweight, but also from an extensive amateur stint that included Olympic Gold alongside two European Gold medals and two World Gold medals. In short, the Ukrainian is a top level operator.
To say that Usyk’s run at cruiserweight was impressive would be an understatement. His achievements are pushing Evander Holyfield’s level of dominance. If he can replicate Holyfied’s foray into the heavyweight division then he will be going some.
Usyk endured a relatively inactive 2019 despite making his heavyweight debut in that year. An original fight date was shelved when he suffered an injury. Initial foe Tyron Spong then found himself removed from contention after an adverse finding during his drug testing procedure was discovered and Spong was replaced at extremely short notice by a grossly inactive Chazz Witherspoon.
Witherspoon came from good stock (his uncle Tim was a former heavyweight world titlist) yet had flattered to deceive as a pro. Usyk used the opportunity to test the heavyweight waters by feeling out Chazz for strength, size and power. Softening his man up on the ropes with jabs and feints, Usyk finally dropped the axe and forced a retirement in round seven.
Some viewed the display as a slightly cautious and potentially underwhelming showing. Usyk’s next fight is believed to be against former world title challenger Dereck Chisora. Those wondering if Oleksandr has the size and power to trouble the division’s top men will likely have a lot of questions answered in a Chisora bout.
Would Okleksandr Usyk be a serious threat to Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury? The short answer is, most certainly, yes. Whether Usyk would be able to beat the three behemoths remains to be seen, but he would surely pose a live threat to all three of the division’s main players.
Usyk’s size and punching power could prove to be stumbling blocks against the really big men, where you always need some pop to keep them thinking when moving inside. Having a jabbing, moving Tyson Fury grabbing and clutching you for 12 rounds would deplete the stamina reserves. If Usyk could establish a rhythm against the likes of Wilder or Joshua, by moving laterally, round after round, frustrating the less mobile heavy-hitters, then he could cause significant issues for any top heavyweight.
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