How far can Oleksandr Usyk go?
By Gerardo Granados: Last September 25th at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the upset of the year took place when the former undisputed and undefeated cruiserweight champion of the world Oleksandr Usyk beat the then favorite heavyweight unified titlist Anthony Joshua.
It was a great night for any serious boxing fan; the way Usyk fought was a thing of beauty; not only that, but it also was great to see the heart, poise, and determination portrayed by Oleksandr Usyk. By the time cards were announced, we all knew who the winner was, and Joshua knew it too.
The emotion showed by Usyk after he was declared the winner is the most memorable moment in that fight.
I had it 117-112 for Usyk, and I must confess that I was totally wrong with my prediction. I could not have imagined it to go to the distance even less to see Usyk box the way he did.
For the full twelve rounds, Usyk showed beautiful boxing skills; his footwork at the heavyweight división is rare very unique, except for Tyson Fury. I don’t see anyone else who can move-use his footwork so damn well.
Joshua wasn´t exposed or looked necessarily vulnerable. He did look hesitant and respected too much the punching power of a former cruiserweight. The reason why AJ has had success is mainly due to his strength, size, and power; no, I am not saying he isn’t a good bóxer, but his boxing skills aren’t elite level at all, and it showed against a smaller foe.
Joshua had the wrong game plan coming into the fight by showing up too light at the scales giving away his huge size advantage. When the fight started, he did what he was supposed to do. Still, when Usyk did not allow him to push him back and started to counter and also took advantage of his superior footwork and defense, AJ looked confused, not knowing what to do, becoming repetitive and predictable. I do believe Joshua´s corner was missing in action all night long.
Let´s be clear, Joshua´s eye didn’t look so damaged to be his fan’s excuse for his loss; even if it did was badly swollen, it cannot be used as an excuse at all. This new trend of soft boxing fans-media drives me crazy. This is prize fighting, the fighters get paid to hurt each other, and we, the fight fans, pay to see it because we love it. FACT.
As for Usyk, well, he looked marvelous, showed great boxing ability, and elite level ring smarts-IQ. Oleksandr had an excellent game plan and was able to execute it. His head movement, his footwork, his defense, and his southpaw stance puzzled Joshua. If you want to show a young bóxer how to fight against a bigger fighter, this is a fight that you can use to explain many things.
Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua and now sits right behind the heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. A fight between them looks unavoidable, but due to boxing politics, it might take a while before we, the fight fans, get the chance to enjoy this one.
The 34 years old Usyk is a legit threat to any current heavyweight; no, he isn´t the one who punches the hardest, he isn´t the one with more height, reach and size advantage, but he does is the overall better boxing skilled of all; oh yes, Tyson Fury included.
Usyk’s only problem is his size, so when he fights against another of the modern-day mammoth’s heavies, he will always have the risk of getting hurt.
We hadn’t seen a cruiserweight successfully move up to the heavyweight división since Evander Holyfield did a really long time ago. But will Usyk have the same success as Holyfield? I doubt it, but I do believe Usyk has a good chance to dominate for at least a couple of years. Other than Tyson Fury, I don’t see who can outbox him.
Holyfield´s chin and recuperation ability after getting hurt aren´t things we see too often, so we cannot expect the same from Usyk.
I think so, but I must ask the reader, how far can Usyk go?
- Anthony Joshua will be “ruthless” against Usyk – says Hearn
- Joshua angry, ready to thow Usyk on the floor, wants “war” in rematch
- Anthony Joshua Suggests He Is Going To Let His Hands Go In Oleksandr Usyk Rematch
- Oleksandr Usyk could beat Fury says Malik Scott