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Oleksandr Usyk to fight on Hopkins-Smith Jr. card on Dec.17

Bernard Hopkins

By Jim Dower: WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (10-0, 9 KOs) is tentatively scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith card on December 17 on HBO Boxing from The Forum in Inglewood, California. It’s still not a done deal, according to Dan Rafael, but it’s in being worked on.

This would be a great addition to the Hopkins-Smith card if Usyk could be added, because he’s a fighter that is heading towards stardom in the sport. Usyk captured a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for Ukraine, and he recently defeated the highly respected World Boxing Organization cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki by a 12 round unanimous decision on September 17 in Gdansk, Poland.

Usyk, 29 beat Glowacki in front of his own fans in beating him by the scores of 117-111, 119-109 and 117-111.

It was pretty impressive the way that Usyk was able to capture a world title in just his 10th fight in the pro ranks after just three years as a pro. As good as Usyk is, he probably would have won a world title in his first year and even his first fight as a pro, because he looks just the same now as he did three years ago. Usyk was the finished product when he turned pro three years ago, and there’s been no one that has been able to touch the 6’3” southpaw fighter.

Usyk needs a name for him to get to the next level. Hopefully, they can find him a good opponent for the December 17 card. It would be interesting to see how Usyk would do against the other cruiserweight champions like Denis Lebedev, Beibut Shumenov and Tony Bellew. You’d have to favor Usyk over all three of those guys. He’s probably not popular enough to get any of those guys to face him yet. He probably needs other top guys to help build his name enough to eventually get the other world champions to give him a shot.

As big as Usyk is, it’s possible that we could see him moving up to the heavyweight division one of these days in the same way that Evander Holyfield and David Haye both moved up to the heavyweight division to capture world titles during their careers. Haye would be the perfect opponent for Usyk to fight if a match could be made. With Haye being up there in age, it’s not likely that he and Usyk will ever tangle with each other. Haye is looking for a more established star in Anthony Joshua rather than a guy still trying to build a name for himself in Usyk.

Usyk needs a good enough opponent for the December 17 card for the boxing fans to take notice of him. It would be great if they could get one of the top contenders in the cruiserweight division to fight him like Marco Huck, Dmytro Kucher, Micki Nielson or Noel Gevor. Usyk is so good though. It wouldn’t be surprising if the top contenders aren’t willing to step up to fight him on short notice with the fight date only a month away.


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