Oleksandr Usyk Will Stake His Claim at Pound For Pound Supremacy Against Anthony Joshua

By: Hector Franco This weekend in the United Kingdom, arguably the biggest star in boxing will fight for the first time in 2021 when Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) defends his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles against the Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs).  Initially, Joshua was set to take on lineal and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in what would have been the most significant bout of the year. However, Fury found himself legally obligated to face Deontay Wilder in a third fight, putting an end to the fight with Joshua.  Following the legal debacle with Fury, Joshua was then forced to focus on his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk.   Usyk is one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time, holding an impressive 335-15 amateur record along with winning multiple amateur tournaments, including a gold medal at heavyweight at the 2012 Olympic games in London.  As a professional, Usyk has found nothing but success winning the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament in 2018. Usyk took on the best fighters the division had to offer throughout the tournament, earning victories over then-undefeated fighters Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev.  In the tournament finals, Usyk was crowned the winner holding the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy and laid claim to the undisputed cruiserweight championship holding all four major world titles in the weight class.  To cap off 2018, the Ukrainian defended his undisputed crown against the United Kingdom’s Tony Bellew, scoring an emphatic eighth-round stoppage. Usyk would become the unanimous fighter of the year in 2018, winning the honor from The Ring Magazine, the Boxing Writers Association of American, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN.  Currently, Usyk is ranked as one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound sitting at the number four spot by Ring Magazine.  After accomplishing all he could at cruiserweight, Usyk set his sights up the weight scale at the heavyweight division. Usyk made his heavyweight debut in October 2019, taking on journeyman Chazz Witherspoon who was on an eight-fight winning streak heading into the match.  While scoring a seventh-round stoppage over Witherspoon, Usyk’s performance wasn’t up to par compared to his previous fights giving many doubts about his prospects at heavyweight.  In his next fight in October 2020, Usyk stepped up the competition taking on perennial heavyweight contender Derek Chisora.  Usyk improved upon his performance with Witherspoon against Chisora, scoring a clear unanimous decision putting himself in the position to challenge for the WBO heavyweight title.  Joshua will be a massive jump for Usyk, who will have significant size and reach disadvantages. Usyk is current a +225 underdog against Joshua, who also won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic games, but at super heavyweight.  Joshua reportedly stands at 6’6 compared to the Ukrainian southpaw’s 6’3 with a 4-inch reach advantage.  However, Usyk may have seen weaknesses that he feels he can exploit against Joshua, most notably in his loss to Andy Ruiz in the summer of 2019. Joshua would win a unanimous decision out boxing Ruiz in the rematch later that same year, but will Joshua be able to outbox a fighter as technically sound as Usyk?  “I can outbox him; of course I can,” Joshua stated during the final press conference. “And I can out-strength him. You have to have a bit of aggression, boxing skill, head movement. There is not just one factor that determines a fight. Obviously, we have our go-to, our strength.  “I will use my strengths. But it’s called a boxing match for a reason. I love the sweet science. I will display my boxing skills, but I won’t make it too complicated in there.” Most of the boxing world has generally put Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Terence Crawford, or Naoya Inoue at the top of their pound-for-pound lists, with Alvarez sitting at the number one spot in the majority of publications.  However, a victory over Joshua for Usyk would trump a victory for Alvarez over Caleb Plant to become the undisputed super middleweight champion, as Plant is a massive underdog who hasn’t been in the ring with elite competition.  After more than three years at welterweight, Crawford finally got a fight with a top fighter in the division when he takes on former two-time welterweight champion Shawn Porter in November. But Crawford will also be a favorite over Porter, who at this point has lost his biggest fights.  Pound-for-pound lists are fun to discuss and argue with among fans, but the fact is those lists are based more on fantasy than reality.  Usyk becoming a unified heavyweight champion to go along with his credentials at cruiserweight should put him at the top of any list. However, the reality is due to size, Usyk would easily beat Alvarez or Crawford.  Also, Usyk has shown just as high an IQ and skillset as both men. “This is the biggest fight of my career right now,” said Usyk at the final press conference.

Oleksandr Usyk Will Stake His Claim at Pound For Pound Supremacy Against Anthony Joshua

By: Hector Franco

This weekend in the United Kingdom, arguably the biggest star in boxing will fight for the first time in 2021 when Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) defends his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles against the Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs). 

Initially, Joshua was set to take on lineal and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in what would have been the most significant bout of the year. However, Fury found himself legally obligated to face Deontay Wilder in a third fight, putting an end to the fight with Joshua. 

Following the legal debacle with Fury, Joshua was then forced to focus on his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk.  

Usyk is one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time, holding an impressive 335-15 amateur record along with winning multiple amateur tournaments, including a gold medal at heavyweight at the 2012 Olympic games in London. 

As a professional, Usyk has found nothing but success winning the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament in 2018. Usyk took on the best fighters the division had to offer throughout the tournament, earning victories over then-undefeated fighters Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev. 

In the tournament finals, Usyk was crowned the winner holding the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy and laid claim to the undisputed cruiserweight championship holding all four major world titles in the weight class. 

To cap off 2018, the Ukrainian defended his undisputed crown against the United Kingdom’s Tony Bellew, scoring an emphatic eighth-round stoppage. Usyk would become the unanimous fighter of the year in 2018, winning the honor from The Ring Magazine, the Boxing Writers Association of American, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN. 

Currently, Usyk is ranked as one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound sitting at the number four spot by Ring Magazine. 

After accomplishing all he could at cruiserweight, Usyk set his sights up the weight scale at the heavyweight division.

Usyk made his heavyweight debut in October 2019, taking on journeyman Chazz Witherspoon who was on an eight-fight winning streak heading into the match. 

While scoring a seventh-round stoppage over Witherspoon, Usyk’s performance wasn’t up to par compared to his previous fights giving many doubts about his prospects at heavyweight. 

In his next fight in October 2020, Usyk stepped up the competition taking on perennial heavyweight contender Derek Chisora. 

Usyk improved upon his performance with Witherspoon against Chisora, scoring a clear unanimous decision putting himself in the position to challenge for the WBO heavyweight title. 

Joshua will be a massive jump for Usyk, who will have significant size and reach disadvantages. Usyk is current a +225 underdog against Joshua, who also won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic games, but at super heavyweight. 

Joshua reportedly stands at 6’6 compared to the Ukrainian southpaw’s 6’3 with a 4-inch reach advantage. 

However, Usyk may have seen weaknesses that he feels he can exploit against Joshua, most notably in his loss to Andy Ruiz in the summer of 2019. Joshua would win a unanimous decision out boxing Ruiz in the rematch later that same year, but will Joshua be able to outbox a fighter as technically sound as Usyk? 

“I can outbox him; of course I can,” Joshua stated during the final press conference. “And I can out-strength him. You have to have a bit of aggression, boxing skill, head movement. There is not just one factor that determines a fight. Obviously, we have our go-to, our strength. 

“I will use my strengths. But it’s called a boxing match for a reason. I love the sweet science. I will display my boxing skills, but I won’t make it too complicated in there.”

Most of the boxing world has generally put Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Terence Crawford, or Naoya Inoue at the top of their pound-for-pound lists, with Alvarez sitting at the number one spot in the majority of publications. 

However, a victory over Joshua for Usyk would trump a victory for Alvarez over Caleb Plant to become the undisputed super middleweight champion, as Plant is a massive underdog who hasn’t been in the ring with elite competition. 

After more than three years at welterweight, Crawford finally got a fight with a top fighter in the division when he takes on former two-time welterweight champion Shawn Porter in November. But Crawford will also be a favorite over Porter, who at this point has lost his biggest fights. 

Pound-for-pound lists are fun to discuss and argue with among fans, but the fact is those lists are based more on fantasy than reality. 

Usyk becoming a unified heavyweight champion to go along with his credentials at cruiserweight should put him at the top of any list. However, the reality is due to size, Usyk would easily beat Alvarez or Crawford. 

Also, Usyk has shown just as high an IQ and skillset as both men. 
“This is the biggest fight of my career right now,” said Usyk at the final press conference. “My opponent is the biggest, an Olympic champion with three world titles. He is a cool opponent. I am looking forward to the victory. 

“I have put in all the work and effort, and I will demonstrate what it means to me.” 

The post Oleksandr Usyk Will Stake His Claim at Pound For Pound Supremacy Against Anthony Joshua appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

Source : Boxing Insider More   

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Joshua Picks Wilder To Beat Fury In Third Fight

By: Sean Crose He no doubt has other things on his mind at the moment, but if you pull his arm, WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua will tell you he believes Deontay Wilder will best Tyson Fury when the two men meet next month in Las Vegas for a third go round. "Let's go with Wilder," Joshua told the BBC in the leadup to his own fight this weekend against former cruiserweight kingpin Oleksandr Usyk. "He (Wilder) seems obsessed, like he really wants it." Joshua went on to add that "a focused man is a dangerous man, and he's focused." Wilder and Fury first met back in December of 2018, when the two battled for Wilder's WBC heavyweight title. The fight was close, but Fury looked to be on his way to a decision win when Wilder dropped him hard in the final round. Amazingly, Fury got to his feet, fought on well, and ultimately walked away with a draw. The two men met again in early 2020. This time, it was Fury who was the aggressor. Not only did he outfight Wilder, he led to a member of Wilder's corner to throw in the towel in the seventh. Even though Fury won the rematch in thoroughly dominant fashion, Joshua feels Wilder's focus in the leadup to the third fight will give him the edge. "Wilder might get the decision," he said. "Actually, no... it has to be a knockout. One of them will knock the other out." Joshua himself, however, has other things on his mind, mainly the undefeated Usyk, who he'll be facing in England. Although favored to win, the towering Englishman is facing an undefeated fighter who was himself the undisputed cruiserweight champion on the world - during a time when cruiserweight was a division bursting with talent. Should he best Usyk, Joshua will be expected to face the winner of Fury-Wilder. That pressure will be particularly intense if Joshua and Fury end up victorious in their respective bouts. Both are supersize heavyweights and, even more importantly, both Englishman. Throw in the fact that the winner of a Joshua-Fury bout would find himself being the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in ages and the potential bout looks to have the makings of a true superfight. Indeed, the two men were supposed to face off in the middle east this year before an American arbitrator ordered Fury to face Wilder again. Joshua, however, comes across as willing to take on all comers. "Honestly," he said, "there's no problem with challenging any fighter in the heavyweight division." The post Joshua Picks Wilder To Beat Fury In Third Fight appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

Joshua Picks Wilder To Beat Fury In Third Fight

By: Sean Crose

He no doubt has other things on his mind at the moment, but if you pull his arm, WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua will tell you he believes Deontay Wilder will best Tyson Fury when the two men meet next month in Las Vegas for a third go round. "Let's go with Wilder," Joshua told the BBC in the leadup to his own fight this weekend against former cruiserweight kingpin Oleksandr Usyk. "He (Wilder) seems obsessed, like he really wants it." Joshua went on to add that "a focused man is a dangerous man, and he's focused."

Wilder and Fury first met back in December of 2018, when the two battled for Wilder's WBC heavyweight title. The fight was close, but Fury looked to be on his way to a decision win when Wilder dropped him hard in the final round. Amazingly, Fury got to his feet, fought on well, and ultimately walked away with a draw. The two men met again in early 2020. This time, it was Fury who was the aggressor. Not only did he outfight Wilder, he led to a member of Wilder's corner to throw in the towel in the seventh.

Even though Fury won the rematch in thoroughly dominant fashion, Joshua feels Wilder's focus in the leadup to the third fight will give him the edge. "Wilder might get the decision," he said. "Actually, no... it has to be a knockout. One of them will knock the other out." Joshua himself, however, has other things on his mind, mainly the undefeated Usyk, who he'll be facing in England. Although favored to win, the towering Englishman is facing an undefeated fighter who was himself the undisputed cruiserweight champion on the world - during a time when cruiserweight was a division bursting with talent.

Should he best Usyk, Joshua will be expected to face the winner of Fury-Wilder. That pressure will be particularly intense if Joshua and Fury end up victorious in their respective bouts. Both are supersize heavyweights and, even more importantly, both Englishman. Throw in the fact that the winner of a Joshua-Fury bout would find himself being the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in ages and the potential bout looks to have the makings of a true superfight. Indeed, the two men were supposed to face off in the middle east this year before an American arbitrator ordered Fury to face Wilder again. Joshua, however, comes across as willing to take on all comers.

"Honestly," he said, "there's no problem with challenging any fighter in the heavyweight division."

The post Joshua Picks Wilder To Beat Fury In Third Fight appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

Source : Boxing Insider More   

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