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Aleksandr Usyk back in gym training for Carlos Takam fight in September

Alexander Usyk

By Charles Brun: A fleshy looking Aleksandr Usyk is back in training for his rescheduled fight at heavyweight against #14 WBO fringe contender Carlos Takam for September. Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) appears to have packed on a few pounds in preparing for his first fight at heavyweight. He was out of action after suffering a biceps injury training for the previously scheduled Takam fight last May.

At 32, Usyk looks slower, less mobile, and not particularly powerful. His venture into the heavyweight division may not be a successful one in terms of winning titles, but he will make money. Usyk doesn’t look like he’s going to take over the heavyweight division like his promoter Eddie Hearn believes he will. He looks small, fleshy around the midsection, and not powerful. Usyk’s lack of size and power will make it difficult for him to compete against the top fighters in the division. He’s arguably a smaller version of Tyson Fury. In another words, Usyk is a small finesse level fighter that lands light shots, and then takes off before his opponents hit him back. He’s Fury-esque with his fighting style.

Usyk ranked #1 with WBO

The World Boxing Organization moved Usyk to #1 with their organization at heavyweight recently. Usyk’s high ranking with the WBO means he’ll get a title shot soon. Usyk’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing wants to match him against the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch. Hearn has deep enough pockets to lure Ruiz Jr. into defending against Usyk. There’s some speculation that Ruiz Jr. may vacate his WBO title if he beats Joshua in the rematch. Usyk is a mover-type of fighter, who will look to win his matches at heavyweight by employing his amateur style of hitting and moving for 12 rounds.

Usyk showing his form training

Usyk still fighting with amateur style

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine hasn’t changed his fighting style since turning pro in 2013. Usyk fights like he’s fencing with a sword. He jabs, and then moves away from his opponents. For some boxing fans, they find Usyk’s fighting style frustrating to watch, because he doesn’t mix it up much with his opponents. This is what we saw from Usyk at cruiserweight. Now that he’s at heavyweight, he’s likely to be even more mobile due to his lack of punching power.

Usyk’s opponent 38-year-old Carlos Takam (36-5-1, 28 KOs) has lost two out of his last three fights in knockout defeats to Dereck Chisora and Anthony Joshua. Takam gave both fighters problems before being stopped. His loss to Joshua in 2017 was a premature stoppage in the 10th round when the referee Phil Edwards jumped in between the two fighters and abruptly stopped the contest.

There were a lot of unhappy boxing fans with the Joshua-Takam match being halted so quickly. You can argue that an asterisk should be put next to Takam’s record for his loss to Joshua, because the fight shouldn’t have been stopped. Last year, Takam lost to Chisora by an eighth round knockout in July 2018 at the O2 Arena in London, England. Takam was on his way to winning the fight when Chisora hurt him with a punch to the back of the head that dropped him. Chisora then knocked Takam down with another rabbit shot to get the stoppage. You can argue that the knockdowns shouldn’t have been counted. Chisoras looping rabbit shots would have given anyone problems.

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