Oleksandr Usyk’s Potential Opponents In The Heavyweight Division
Cruiserweight unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk solidified his position as the king of his division with a brutal stoppage of former world champion Tony Bellew in Manchester Arena. It was a result which many expected, though the manner of the victory had most stunned.
Usyk was portrayed as a slick boxer, who’s ring IQ was enough to outsmart most of the elite fighters he shares a square box with. However, showing he has the power to put a resilient fighter such as Bellew to sleep was impressive.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said Usky now plans to move up to heavyweight just like many cruiserweights before him, and it potentially throws up some interesting match-ups.
5) Joseph Parker
Coming off the back of two defeats to Britsh fighters in Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, Parker may be the perfect fight for Usyk to take in order to test his stance in the heavyweight division.
Parker came in at a hefty 242lbs, 42lbs above the cruiserweight limit which could prove to be problematic for Usyk. However, at just 6’3”, the New Zealander doesn’t possess the towering frame and reach other elite heavyweights have in their favour. Usyk could fare well in this match-up.
4) Carlos Takam
Takam has endeared himself to the British public ever since his display in Cardiff against Anthony Joshua, despite eventually being stopped in the 10th round. It raised his profile enormously and in July, was placed on the Whyte/Parker undercard against Derek Chisora.
It was a brutal clash, but the Cameroonian managed to get caught with one big shot, despite winning the fight comfortably in terms of points – in the heavyweight division, that’s all it takes.
Takam isn’t known for a one-punch knockout, and this would also represent one of the few heavyweights Usyk is taller than.
3) Alexander Povetkin
A man only stopped by one opponent, Povetkin would certainly want to come back and prove he still has it in him to make noise in the heavyweight division at 37. The Russian has a dynamite left-hook which would cause Usyk many problems.
However, standing at 6’1”, 222lbs, Usky could certainly match-up with the former world champion physically.
2) Deontay Wilder
The WBC champion is arguably the hardest-hitting heavyweight in the world and one who could seriously hurt Usyk should he get into the ring with him, though a potential fight isn’t too far-fetched.
Wilder has publicly stated his desire to one day go down to cruiserweight after he’s conquered the heavyweight scene, something which baffled many. It’s a move never done successfully and given the Alabama-native regularly comes in at 215-218lbs, the move would be seamless.
However, with the king of that division moving up, maybe Wilder can fight him at his comfortable weight.
Usyk has made it clear that his path eventually leads to the king of the division, Anthony Joshua. The two are under the Matchroom stable which means a future bout wouldn’t be too difficult to make given the lack of politics involved.
However, in terms of its competitiveness, Usyk certainly needs a few matches in boxing’s premier division before getting in with such a brutal knockout artist.