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Oleksandr Usyk injured, fight against Stephen Simmons cancelled

LatestBy Jeff Aranow: Just days after his scheduled fight against Stephen Simmons (14-1, 6 KOs) was announced for April 23 in Kiev, Ukraine, unbeaten #1 WBO cruiserweight contender Oleksandr Usyk (9-0, 9 KOs) has reportedly suffered a foot injury and has pulled out of the fight, according to news from Dan Rafael.

Usyk, 29, suffered a foot injury during a sparring session this week while getting ready for the Simmons fight.

The Simmons fight was supposed to be a tune-up for Usyk to keep him sharp to fight for the WBO title.

Usyk captured a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for Ukraine. In that Olympics, Usyk beat Artur Beterbiev (Russia), Tervel Pulev (Bulgaria) and Clemente Russo (Italy) to capture the gold medal.

Usyk is supposed to be fighting the winner of the April 16 fight between WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs) and Steve Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs). As long as Usyk’s foot heals up fine, he’ll be facing the winner of that fight at some point this year. Usyk is the WBO mandatory challenger.

Since turning pro in 2013, Usyk has breezed through his first nine opponents he’s faced in scoring nine consecutive knockouts. In his last two fights, Usyk has stopped Johnny Muller and Pedro Rodriguez. Usyk looked very good in both fights. The real test for Usyk will be when he steps it up to fight the winner of the Glowacki-Cunningham fight. That should be a good chance of the boxing world to see if Usyk is for real or not. At 29, Usyk can’t afford to take his career at a slow pace because he spent a lot of time in the amateur ranks in Ukraine in fighting in two Olympics in 2008 and 2012.

The southpaw Usyk has good size at 6’3″, 200 pounds, and has excellent punching power to go along with his size. Usyk has the kind of size that could enable him to one day move up to the heavyweight division if he likes.

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