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Oleksandr Usyk stops Johnny Muller

LatestBy Jim Dower: Undefeated #2 WBO cruiserweight contender Oleksandr Usyk (8-0, 8 KOs) stayed in line for an eventual world title shot by defeating #15 WBO fringe contender Johnny Muller (19-5-2, 13 KOs) by a third round stoppage tonight in a one-sided fight from the Palace of Sports in Kiev, Ukraine.

The 28-year-old Usyk, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, dropped Muller twice in the 3rd round. Usyk then unloaded with a flurry of shots until referee Ingo Barrabas stepped in and halted the fight with Muller still on his feet and bleeding from the nose.

Muller protested the stoppage, but the referee wasn’t having any of it. Before the stoppage, Usyk was unloading on Muller with punch after punch without him being able to do anything to stop the incoming.

In rounds one and two, the southpaw Usyk jabbed and occasionally nailed him with hard left hands to the head and body. By the 2nd round, Muller’s left eye was marking up from where Usyk was nailing him with hard jabs. If Usyk had opted to throw with everything he had with every shot, he likely would have scored a 1st round knockout. Usyk’s punching power is extremely good, and there’s not too many cruiserweights that could stand up to that kind of power. Usyk likes to vary the power on his shots in order to make his power more formidable for when he does load up on his shots. We saw that tonight with the way he was hitting Muller with a lot of punching with only moderate power on them. When Usyk finally did put everything he had in his left hand in the 3rd round, he put Muller down on the canvas on his backside. Once Usyk had Muller hurt, he unloaded with everything but the kitchen sink in dropping him immediately with another left to the head.

Usyk is ready for better opposition at this point. He’s only been a pro for two years since 2013, but he looks good enough to challenge WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki right now and beat him. Glowacki recently defeated the longtime champion Marco Huck, so he’s probably not going to be facing someone like Usyk for some time.

In other action on the card, light welterweight prospect Denys Berinchyk (1-0, 1 KOs) defeated Tarik Madni (19-9-1, 1 KOs) by a 4th round TKO. This was the first of the 27-year-old Berinchyk’s career. He’s a 2012 Silver medalist for Ukraine in the Olympics.

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