Usyk’s promoter reacts to Arum saying he should fight Whyte to prove mandatory status
By Allan Fox: Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk isn’t interested in having his fighter WBO mandatory challenger follow along with Tyson Fury’s promoter Bob Arum to face Dillian Whyte to prove a genuine mandatory contender for the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Fury fight.
Arum is unhappy that mandatory challengers to WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and WBO champ Joshua will get in the way of the Joshua-Fury two-fight deal they have for 2021.
The World Boxing Organization wants Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) to get his title shot against Joshua before he faces Fury.
Usyk doesn’t want to wait for title shot
If Joshua defends against Usyk, it would likely take place in the first half of 2021, which is when he was supposed to be fighting Fury for the first time. Further, WBC mandatory Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) wants his title shot against Fury by February of 2021, and he’s taking legal action to enforce it.
“Usyk has no need to fight anyone to prove his right for the Mandatory. He was designated as the WBO Official challenger almost one year ago and has to face Antony Joshua as soon as it is possible,” said Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk on his Twitter @AKrassyuk.
“I think WBO will follow its regulations and will force AJ to comply with his obligations.”
It’s understandable here Krassyuk is coming from in not wanting his fighter 33-year-old Usyk to have to take an additional step to fight for a world title against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs). Usyk has followed the World Boxing Organization’s rules and was made their mandatory challenger by asking for the spot.
There’s a tremendous amount of money that Usyk can make in fighting Joshua. It doesn’t matter if Usyk gets beaten, which a lot of boxing fans predicting will happen. The payday will be so good for Usyk that there won’t be a huge downside if he loses to Joshua.
If Usyk were to wait for Joshua and Fury to fight twice next year, he’d be looking to get his manded title shot by 2022 finally. That’s crazy for Usyk to have to wait until 2022 to get a crack at fighting for the WBO belt.
Usyk would be taking a HUGE risk against Whyte
If Usyk had to fight the 240+ pound Dillian Whyte to pick out a genuine contender to fight the winner of Fury vs. Joshua, it could go badly for the former undisputed cruiserweight champion. Usyk didn’t look impressive at all in beating 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon last year on October 12 in Chicago, Illinois.
Although Usyk stopped the out of shape and old-looking Witherspoon in the seventh round, that performance left more questions than answers about the ability of the 2012 Olympic gold medalist to fight at a high level in the heavyweight division.
The way that Usyk looked against Witherspoon, he would have a lot of problems against Joshua due to his lack of size, power, and speed. At 6’3,” 215 pounds, Usyk didn’t possess the energy or the frame to steamroll an old, out of shape guy in Witherspoon. As a result, Usyk’s face was marked up by Witherspoon, and he looked like he’d been through a tough fight afterward.
The top heavyweights in the division likely would have knocked Witherspoon out in the first or second round without suffering a scratch. It wasn’t surprising that Usyk struggled at heavyweight. In his fight against a raw Joe Joyce in the World Series of Boxing in 2013, Usyk got hit a lot in winning a competitive five-round decision.
Advantages of Whyte vs. Usyk taking place
Although Joyce was painfully slow with his punches, he still landed a ton of punches to the head of Usyk. The punching power from Usyk wasn’t there. He looked like a cruiserweight with the power of a 175-pound fighter going up against a big, slow heavyweight.
If Usyk was forced to eat Joshua’s punches for 12 rounds, he might not last long enough to hear the final bell.
The advantage for Usyk and Whyte to face each other first before the winner challenging the Joshua vs. Fury fight are as follows:
- Fans will have more interest in seeing the Whyte or Usyk fight the Joshua-Fury winner if they square off first. Currently, Usyk and Whyte aren’t hugely popular, and a lot of boxing fans worldwide aren’t familiar with either of them.
- Whyte and Usyk can prove themselves worthy of a title shot if they battle it out first. With Usyk being installed by the WBO as the mandatory for Joshua without fighting in an eliminator, it looks odd. Fans are like, ‘Who is this guy and why is he now the WBO mandatory for AJ?’ the World Boxing Council tossed Whyte a softball with him fighting Oscar Rivas for the WBC title eliminator after Dillian rejected facing Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz for that spot a year earlier in 2018. Rivas is a decent heavyweight, but Ortiz would have likely been a much tougher fight for Whyte.
Usyk vs. Whyte would be a great battle
One argument in favor of Usyk and Whyte facing each other is the fact that it would be an excellent contest. There would be a massive amount of interest from boxing fans in seeing Whyte and Usyk battle it out. It would be like a tournament semifinal between two guys trying to get to the final.
While you can understand why Usyk and Whyte don’t want to have to face each other before fighting for a world title in 2021, but it’s a fight that would still be an exciting one to watch. The payday would be huge because it would legitimize the Whyte vs. Usyk winner as a true challenge for the Joshua-Fury winner.
Some fans are confused about how Usyk and Whyte got to the point where they’re sitting on the doorstep to a title shot against Fury and Joshua. It’s not as if Usyk had to beat anyone to earn the mandatory spot at heavyweight, and Whyte got a relatively easy fight against Rivas, a B-level guy that had done nothing during his career.
Rivas’ best career win is against an older Byrant Jennings. Sure, it’s a good win, but Jennings isn’t a top guy at heavyweight.
Whyte and Usyk will be in action in 2020
Usyk is supposed to be fighting journeyman Dereck Chisora next at some point in 2020. It’s a decent fight, but not a great one. Chisora has already been beaten NINE times in his career, including two losses to Whyte.
For his part, Whyte is supposed to fight 40-year-old Alexander Povetkin in August. That would have been a good fight eight years ago in 2012, but not now. Povetkin is old and was recently knocked out by Joshua in 2018.
Usyk, 33, was made the WBO mandatory challenger to Joshua in 2019 after the sanctioning body installed him in that position.
The criticism that a lot of boxing fans have about Usyk being made mandatory to Joshua is he didn’t fight in a title eliminator against a top contender to get that position.
Usyk was made the WBO mandatory as part of the sanctioning bodies’ rules. Oleksander was the WBO cruiserweight Super Champ, and that designation gave him the ability to move up to heavyweight and be installed as the mandatory challenger.
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