Oleksandr Usyk vs. Michael Hunter – Results
By Jim Dower: Unbeaten WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (12-0, 10 KOs) defeated #8 WBO Michael Hunter (12-1, 8 KOs) by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night to retain his title at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The final scores were 117-110, 117-110 and 117-110.
Usyk hurt Hunter in the 12th round with a flurry of power shots that resulted in him receiving a standing 8 count. Somehow, Hunter was able to last out the final storm of power shots from the 30-year-old Usyk despite being badly hurt. The referee gave Hunter a break in letting him continue fighting through the final blizzard of big shots from Usyk. The fight probably should have been stopped because Hunter was just taking huge punches and not throwing much back.
Hunter gave Usyk a great deal of problems in the first 2 rounds with his jab and fast arm punches. Usyk looked uncomfortable with the repetitive shots that Hunter, 28, was throwing at him, as it kept him from being able to set up his own power shots.
In round 3, Hunter landed a lot of punches to the head of Usyk. The shots caused Usyk’s right cheek to swell slightly and redden. Usyk was covering up and looking uncomfortable with offbeat timing the high volume of punches coming from Hunter. This was a very different type of opponent for Usyk compared to the ones that he’d faced before in his short pro career.
Usyk increased the amount of punches he was throwing in the 4th round, and he got the better of Hunter. It was still close. Hunter’s shots didn’t have the same kind of power on them.
In rounds 5 through 12, Usyk started to hit Hunter more and more with his big power shots. Hunter stayed busy in each round, but he didn’t have the power to compete with him. Usyk’s 9 ½ pound weight advantage was a big factor in the fight. He was able to use that to his benefit.
The negative to Usyk’s performance tonight was his stamina and lack of power. He looked tired much of the time in many of the rounds. Usyk was gasping for breath, and he didn’t look like he was in the best condition.
Usyk appeared to be bigger than in his previous fight against Thabiso Mchunu. The added weight seemed to take something from Usyk’s speed and his stamina because he looked slower than he was in the Mchunu fight. Usyk wants to move up to the heavyweight division in the near future. This performance suggests that Usyk lacks the power and the killer instinct to fight successfully at the heavyweight level.
At this point, Usyk might not have enough power and stamina to beat some of the other cruiserweight champions in the division. I would have to favor Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev over Usyk based on his performance tonight.
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