What’s Next For Oleksandr Usyk?
By: Hans Themistode
It was a pointless contest for Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) who made his Heavyweight debut against late replacement Chazz Witherspoon (38-4, 29 KOs) in Chicago at the Wintrust arena.
Witherspoon was never viewed as a true contender at any point in his career, nor was he viewed as a true challenge for the former undisputed Cruiserweight champion. Those sentiments came to fruition as Witherspoon was outclassed and ultimately stopped in the seventh round.
There is no denying the skill of Usyk but does he possess the size. The former Cruiserweight tipped the scale at 215 pounds, which is on the lighter side for a Heavyweight. His contest against Witherspoon did nothing for his stock in his new division. Simply put, he needs to face better opposition. If he elects too, he can simply wait for the winner of the December rematch between unified champion Andy Ruiz and former champion Anthony Joshua. Or, he could choose to continue to get his feet wet in his new division.
Let’s take a look at his options.
The former multiple time title challenger was originally slated to take on Usyk on May 25th. However, Usyk suffered a torn bicep which forced the bout to be canceled. Thoughts of scheduling a rematch between went by the wayside for various reasons.
Now that Usyk has made a successful debut in the Heavyweight division, this contest should be revisited. Takam may have came up short in his endeavors to become a world champion, but he has always given a good account of himself. A win for either man would put the rest of the division on notice.
A matchup between Alexander Povetkin (35-2, 24 KOs) and Usyk would pit two gold medal winning fighters against one another. Since losing a one sided decision at the hands of former champion Wladimir Klitschko back in 2013, Povetkin reeled off eight straight victories before he was ultimately stopped in his second bid to become a world champion, this time at the hands of former belt holder Anthony Joshua.
Even at the age of 40, Povetkin proved that he has plenty left in the tank as he defeated Hughie Fury earlier this year. Rumors circulated of these two stepping into the ring against one another in the past. The fans should hope that this fight becomes a reality sooner rather than later.
Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs) is currently out of the loop in terms of a big fight. He was originally scheduled to take on Dereck Chisora later this month but was forced to withdraw due to an illness. Since back to back losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, Parker has gone on to stop his last two opponents. The former WBO belt holder is itching to get back into title contention. A win over the highly touted Usyk could provide him with a pathway to championship glory.
A contest against Parker seems like a tough ask of Usyk who only has one match under his belt in the Heavyweight division, however, if he wants to truly make a splash, then this is the fight to make.