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Oleksandr Usyk and Carlos Takam agree to terms for May 18 fight


By Jeff Aranow: In huge news, Oleksander Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) and Carlos Takam (36-5-1, 28 KOs) have agreed to terms for a fight on May 18 in Chicago, according to Mike Coppinger. This will be the 32-year-old Usyk’s heavyweight debut after having unified the cruiserweight division. Usyk’s goal is to unify the heavyweight division by winning all four belts, and then he plans on retiring.

Takam is known for his knockout losses to IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Dereck Chisora. By Hearn matching Usyk against Takam, it’ll give the 2012 Olympian from Ukraine an opponent that the British boxing fans are familiar with. Takam was also knocked out by Alexander Povetkin in 2014, and out-boxed by Joseph Parker in 2016 in losing a 12 round decision to him. Matching Usyk against Takam will give the fans a chance to compare how Usyk does against a fighter that Joshua stopped in the 10th round in October 2017. Takam gave Joshua some problems at times by simply pressing him, and forcing him to fight harder than his bodybuilder’s frame was comfortable. You can argue that if Takam was five inches taller at 6’7″, and a little more powerful, he would have beaten Joshua. Takam was too short, and lacked the power needed for him to beat AJ.

The 6’2″ Takam, 38, is actually shorter than the 6’3″ Usyk, and he’s not at the high point of his career in having lost two out of his last three fights. This is a decent fight for Usyk, but it’s hardly the type of opponent that will get him ready to take on IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua or WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Joshua is the focus in the near term, as Usyk is promoted Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn, who also guides the career of Joshua.

The date that Matchroom has chosen to stage the Usyk vs. Takam fight, May 18, coincides with the Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale fight on Showtime. Usyk-Takam isn’t the type of big fight that would pull viewers away from the Wilder-Breazeale fight unfortunately. It’s unclear whether Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn intentionally chose to counter program by putting Usyk vs. Takam on May 18. Perhaps Hearn doesn’t care. He should. If Hearn doesn’t care, then Ushyk, 32, should have spoken up by resisting the idea of his fight taking place on the same night as Wilder’s match against Breazeale, because the boxing fans in the U.S are likely going to choose to watch the more intriguing fight between Wilder and Breazeale rather than watch Usyk fight Takam, who has been knocked out twice in his last three fights. Takam was a good fighter seven years ago in 2012, but he’s been on the slide for a long time. He’s not a big puncher. Takam, 6’2″, is a short volume puncher, who struggles against guys with power or boxing skills.

“SOURCE: Oleksandr Usyk and Carlos Takam have agreed to terms for a May 18 fight in Chicago streamed on DAZN,” Coppinger said on his social media site. “The undisputed cruiserweight champion is moving up to heavyweight. Fight is same day as Wilder-Breazeale on Showtime. Usyk and Alexander Povetkin were originally in talks.”

It looks bad that Usyk is being matched against Takam, a fighter who was knocked out by past his prime 35-year-old Dereck Chisora last July at the O2 Arena in London, England. Although Takam was dominating Chisora for the first seven rounds, he got caught and dropped twice in the eighth round. The referee had to stop the fight. Takam did win his last fight in stopping little known Senad Gashi in the 7th round last December, but that was against an obscure heavyweight that few fans, even the hardcore boxing fans, had ever heard of. Usyk has so much more talent and youth than former heavyweight world title challenger. This fight has mismatch written all over it.

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