Following last weekend's world title action, we have updated our professional boxing world champions list. The main movers last weekend were Scotland's Ricky Burns who captured the WBA (Regular) world super-lightweight title by stopping Italian Michelle Di Rocco, and also Liverpool's Tony Bellew - who won the WBC crusierweight title by knocking out Illunga Makabu at Goodison Park in front…
One To Watch In 2016: Cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk
A man who will ‘go places’ in 2016 and beyond.
As we wave goodbye to another year of boxing, many young fighters and prospects have made a break out onto the boxing scene this year.
Many of them are being touted for world level success in the new year of 2016. One that excites me as an all rounded fighter, that has the credentials to go on and achieve great success that hasn’t had the high level of exposure to the world, is a 28 year old Ukrainian fighting out of the cruiserweight division.
Oleksandr Usyk is a six foot three southpaw who is a decorated amateur. He started boxing at the age of 15 and worked on his craft in the gym right the way through the amateur code, winning the 2008 European championships in Liverpool and also became a world champion at Heavyweight in 2011 in Baku.
He represented Ukraine in the Olympic games twice, reaching the quarter finals in Beijing in 2008 and reached the pinnacle level in the amateur game winning Gold in the 2012 London games at Heavyweight.
He defeated names such as Artur Beterbiev, another rising prospect making a devastating impact on the professional scene since turning over from the amateurs, and then in the quarter finals he defeated Tervel Pulev in the semi finals and claimed the gold by – beating two time world amateur champion Clemente Russo in the grand finale.
Turning into a technically skilled-explosive pro
So who is Oleksandr Usyk as a professional? Well, a southpaw with a 78 reach advantage with huge physical size and frame, a ferocious puncher who has incredibly fast hands for a man weighing in a 200 pound division, a guy equipped with superior timing, good lateral movement and with an all round polished technique.
He is promoted by K2 Promotions and trained by the experienced and knowledgeable James Ali Bashir. His professional record currently stands at (9-0, 9 KOs) with all nine victories coming inside the distance.
One of his most impressive all round performances was in his victory over Johnny Muller in August, where he landed a left hook in the third round which put Muller to the canvas, recovering, Muller remained in the fight only to be met by a destructive combination of hooks – two to the head Usyk then threw a right to the body and put Muller down again with a left hook to the head.
Usyk then finished the fight throwing a ruthless barrage of punches that ultimately ended the fight (via Seconds Out):
His latest victory come at this past weekend as he stopped Pedro Rodriguez in the 7th round in Kiev, in his home country of Ukraine. Usyk put him down in the 6th, landing a perfectly timed uppercut that dropped Rodriguez on the canvas. He was able to get back up and make it out of the round. In the 7th round the referee called a halt and a finish to the fight, after destructive combinations and flurries and despite Rodriguez getting to his feet, he was in no shape to continue.
Keep an eye out
Usyk has been a professional for just over two years now and is already ranked the number one contender in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) for a shot at the world title, currently held by Polish champion Krzystof Glowaki.
Usyk has the WBO Intercontinental title under his name, which has helped him build a case of being ready for that break out fight onto the world scene.
Many fighters and fellow cruiserweights have touted Usyk to become the next great champion in the division, a division stacked with devastating and dangerous clinical punchers at the minute.
Usyk defines that only with the added touch of being a fantastic boxer with good IQ to boot, and with his prime still awaiting him in the coming years, it is a scary thought of the potential he could achieve in this sport.
(Image credit: uatoday.TV)