By Tim Royner: Oleksandr Usyk and former heavyweight world title challenger will likely be facing each other in September. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is reportedly working on rescheduling the fight for September. They were supposed to face each other on May 25 on DAZN at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Usyk, 32, suffered a bicep injury sparring, and had to pull out of the fight.
Takam recently knocked out by Chisora
This is a decent first fight for Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs), but it’s disappointing that the 38-year-old Takam (36-5-1, 28 KOs) was recently knocked out in the eighth round by Dereck Chisora last July. Takam’s advanced age, and the fact that he was recently knocked out by Chisora makes Usyk looks less than brave in taking this fight.
The boxing public would rather see Usyk give a rematch with Michael Hunter or face Chisora. Either of those fights would be good for Usyk, but Takam isn’t that great of a fight given the circumstances. The problem with Hunter and Usyk fighting a rematch is the chances of a lot of booing from the fans.
In their fight in April 2017, the crowd booed the lack of action due to Usyk using so much movement to avoid Hunter. The American boxing fans like to see action, and Usyk was just trying to avoid Hunter all night. It was the second fight in a row that Usyk had been booed by fans. He was booed a lot in his match against Thabiso Mchunu. Given the way that Usyk fought against Hunter, it’s a good thing that Hearn isn’t looking to put them back in with each other. Usyk makes Tyson Fury look like an offensive dynamo in comparison.
Hearn may have tough time turning Usyk into a star
It’s going to be hard for Hearn to try and turn Usyk into a superstar like he did with Anthony Joshua. Usyk captured an Olympic gold medal in 2012 for Ukraine, and he recently unified the cruiserweight division as a pro. However, he’s failed to win over a huge fan base the way Joshua did in the UK. Usyk isn’t from the UK, so it’s unlikely he’ll one day be fighting in front of large stadiums the way AJ has. Usyk doesn’t the exciting fighting style that U.S boxing fans like, so it’s going to be impossible for him to become the next Gennady Golovkin. Usyk is a finesse fighter. Some fans like watching a fighter that jabs and moves for 12 rounds, but not a lot.
Usyk vacated his WBC and WBO cruiserweight titles recently. He still has his IBF belt that he’s holding onto for some reason. That belt will go eventually unless the IBF wants to have Usyk keep the strap in case he has second thoughts about his heavyweight experiment. It’s likely that Usyk won’t return to the cruiserweight division. The lure of big paydays at heavyweight is just hard to resist.
It’s unfortunate that Anthony Joshua was dethroned recently by American Andy Ruiz Jr., because Usyk could have gotten an easy title shot. Joshua and Usyk are both promoted by Hearn.
Few boxing fans believed that the light hitting, slender 200 pound Usyk would have had much of a chance of beating Joshua, but those opinions have changed. Suddenly a lot of fans think Usyk would beat Joshua if given the chance to fight him. However, if Joshua fails to recapture his lost titles in the rematch with Ruiz later this year, there’ll be no point in Hearn putting AJ in with Usyk. Hearn would be shooting himself in the foot if he matched Usyk and Joshua in a fight without a world title being on the line.