Oleksandr Usyk is one punch away from boxing immortality

The Ukrainian holds three of the four heavyweight belts. If he can convince Tyson Fury to enter the ring for a fight that would unify his four titles, Usyk will have the chance to achieve a rare feat: become the ‘undisputed’ champion in two weight classes.

The Ukrainian holds three of the four heavyweight belts. If he can convince Tyson Fury to enter the ring for a fight that would unify his four titles, Usyk will have the chance to achieve a rare feat: become the ‘undisputed’ champion in two weight classes.

Oleksandr Usyk is one step away from eternal boxing greatness.

The Ukrainian pugilist successfully defended his world heavyweight titles last month with a split-decision victory over Anthony Joshua in a rematch dubbed ‘Rage on the Red Sea’. He thus retained his WBA, WBO and IBF belts, remaining the unified champion.

There is only one heavyweight title that Usyk does not own — the WBC belt, held by Tyson Fury after he knocked out Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium in April.

A win over the 6’9” Fury would consolidate all four heavyweight titles, making Usyk the undisputed champion. What’s more, the 35-year-old ring-master holds the rare honor of achieving ‘undisputed’ status in two weight classes, having already been the undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to the heavyweight division.

Add to that his outstanding athletic credentials — he’s an Olympic, World and European Champion! – and you realize that Usyk is one of the most decorated boxers in the sport’s storied history.

‘Pound for Pound’ Number 1?

It’s not just a stunning achievement; It was also the harsh conditions in which he grew up.

Six months ago, he was patrolling the streets of Kyiv with an automatic rifle and defending Ukraine from invading Russians. In fact, it wasn’t until the Ukrainian soldiers he was visiting at the medical facility asked to fight Joshua that Usyk decided to box again.

After a grueling training camp, he faces a different kind of pressure inside the ring at the King Abdullah Sport City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – living up to his billing as Ukraine’s sporting pride, carrying the hopes of a struggling nation. for its existence.

The 6’3” boxer triumphed with a rousing display of heart and resilience, withstanding a barrage from the heavy-hitting Joshua in round nine before turning the tables with three rounds for the ages.

“It’s already history,” Usyk said after the fight, which took his professional streak to 20 matches unbeaten. “Many generations are going to see this fight, especially round when someone tries to hit me hard. But I faced it and turned it around.

The opposing camp was in awe

Joshua’s camp also recognized Usyk’s dominance in every aspect of the fight-game.

“I thought we had him in the ninth round,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said. “Round 10 was one of the best rounds I’ve ever seen. What Usyk did in the 10th, 11th and 12th was incredible, he was seriously injured in the ninth, but came out like a train.

Joshua’s trainer, Robert Garcia, gave the British boxer a new game-plan to attack Usyk’s body and keep up the pressure, admitting that the Ukrainian is the real champion.

“Anthony is a tough puncher, and one shot can change the fight. We’re hoping for one shot,” Garcia told Izquierdazo. “But Usyk is a great fighter, with tremendous heart, he knows how to finish as strong as champions. Usyk is mentally strong, after being close to a knockout, instead of giving up, he came back strong. His determination and his desire to demonstrate to his country that he will not allow himself to be defeated in the fight kept him coming back.

Usyk called Fury out immediately after the match. “I believe he wants to fight me. I want to fight him. And if I don’t fight Tyson Fury, I won’t fight at all,” Usyk told the crowd through a ringside interpreter. Fury announced his retirement, but said in a post on social media that he would “smash him.” [Usyk] in four rounds.”

Fury continued to send mixed signals, with one day completely bombarded and saying he was walking away from the sport because he had given his word to his wife.

Experts see it as just a ploy to drive up his price, and at least one recent Fury comment made clear: “England is relieved of its belts, again, as usual, but there is a cure and a solution that I can suggest. If you want those belts back, send a gypsy barbarian to England. come on Send me in. But it won’t be cheap. It will be very expensive. “

Legacy Play

The prospect of a fight should appeal to Fury. It’s not just legacy-defining for Usyk; It also gives Fury a chance to put his name among the best. While he doesn’t have Usyk’s stellar resume, he has had a glittering professional career. If he can become the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis (1999-2000) and retire undefeated, he will be considered an all-time great.

Fury’s promoter Frank Warren talked about the attractions of the potential bout. “He and Usyk will have a really good fight,” Warren told the BBC. “I think it’s a fight because both teams want it to happen. It’s a unique fight, a historic fight so it’s just a matter of where it’s going to generate the most revenue. It’s the first time four belts have been on the line for God knows how long. Both are undefeated. The whole boxing world is impressed.

A recent ESPN report said the heavyweight reunification fight could take place in February 2023, but there’s still uncertainty as to when that will happen — that is, if it happens at all.

However, Warren is right about the fight’s appeal — it’s not only historically significant, but has many selling points, including the in-ring action.

How do they fit?

It has a classic ‘big man, small man’ story, with the giant Fury enjoying a six-inch and potentially 20-kg advantage. But Fury, interestingly, seemed more comfortable against similar-sized bruisers in the ring and less comfortable dealing with smaller fighters.

Both Usyk and Fury are high-IQ boxers, so strategy and tactics in chess add another layer to the competition.

Usyk is an excellent technical boxer, with such fluid footwork that he controls ring position on every opponent. He is a clinical puncher, using a pawing jab to constantly pressure his opponents and set them up. His agility allows him to escape punishment and quickly counter punch when the opportunity presents itself. No wonder he was called ‘cat’. His is a complete style without prudence and weakness. He also throws a southpaw, which can trouble some opponents.

Fury, despite his size, is not a plodding, one-tone fighter. He is unpredictable with a rare ability to adapt his style to his opponent. He can crowd his opponent or fight from range. While his footwork isn’t as smooth and sharp as Usyk’s, it’s still exceptional for a big man, allowing him to create angles to punch. He has a strong defense and an even stronger chin. He is also a master at disrupting the opponent’s rhythm with jabs, feints and moves.

“It’s a fight with contrasting styles and very different propositions,” former heavyweight and cruiserweight champion David Haye told iFL TV. “How does Fury do against the smaller good guys? Look at Steve Cunningham. He’s the cruiserweight champion and he had a win against Fury, but Fury used his size and mauled him to a pulp.

“Is Usyk made of tough stuff? I think so, I think it’s a great fight and I’m really looking forward to it. Finally we’re going to have an undisputed champion with no question marks. You’ve got two guys now who are arguably number one and number two, but You count it in. There’s only one like the Highlander and we’ll find out who’s number one.

It’s too big a struggle not to happen. The boxing world hopes that Fury can get into the ring.

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