Who Will Step Up and Face Oleksandr Usyk?
By: Hans Themistode
Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) is looking to make a big splash in the Heavyweight division.
After mowing down the competition at Cruiserweight, Oleksandr Usyk is ready to move on. While Usyk campaigned in the division he fought all of the top names.
Undefeated up and coming WBO champion Krzysztof Glowacki was outclassed. One of the longest reigning champions in Marco Huck was easily dispatched by stoppage in the tenth round. Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev had their once spotless records stained once they entered the ring against Usyk as well.
All four major titles in the division were wrapped around his waist at this point. He ended his career at Cruiserweight with a eighth round knockout win over Tony Bellew.
There was effectively nothing and no one left for Usyk to face so the move to Heavyweight was a well warranted one. Originally, he was scheduled to make his debut at his new weight class on May 25th against Carlos Takam. A bicep injury however, during his training camp forced him to the sidelines.
Now that he is fully healed, he is penciled in for a return in October. Unfortunately for Usyk, he has been unable to secure an opponent as of now.
So who exactly should welcome Usyk into the world of giants?
The Heavyweight division isn’t short on big name fighters, but many of them are occupied at the moment. The biggest names in the division including WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder, Lineal Champ Tyson Fury, unified champion Andy Ruiz and former unified champion Anthony Joshua are all currently booked in high profile fights.
The contenders, including Luis Ortiz, Alexander Povetkin and Hughie Fury are all busy as well.
So where exactly does that leave Usyk? Unfortunately for the former undisputed Cruiserweight champ, it leaves him in limbo.
Usyk has never been known for taking a soft touch. With such few options at the moment there is one name in the division that would make perfect sense for him. Kubrat Pulev.
Since getting stopped by Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 in his first attempt at a world title, Pulev has gone on to win seven straight fights. He is currently the IBF number one contender as well.
A fight between the two makes perfect sense. Not only would Pulev provide Usyk with a significant challenge, but it would also pave the way for the victor to take on the winner in the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz.
Usyk could of course opt for a soft touch but that has never been his style. Whomever he decides to take on in his Heavyweight debut will allow him the opportunity to announce his presence to the rest of the division.