By: Sena Crose
Let’s face it – this would make some kind of fight. Former WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder, perhaps the hardest hitting fighter in history, versus the walking, talking skill set that is WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk is nothing short of an extremely intriguing proposition. Would the sometimes crude style of Wilder get taken to school by chess player Usyk? Or would a single shot – and that’s all it would take from Wilder – send Usyk into dream land? These sorts of questions make for a solid ring pairing. And, as of Thursday, Wilder appears to be ready, willing and able to make the fight happen.
Of course, Usyk was supposed to face Wilder conqueror Tyson Fury on April 29th in London for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. That fight, however, was called off within the past twenty-four hours before possible becoming back in play again. The truth, however, is Usyk is said to be quite annoyed by Fury and his team at the moment. He reportedly wants Fury’s titles (the WBC and lineal) but he might well be at his wits end with the negotiation process. The reality at this point is that Fury-Usyk very likely won’t happen in late April, or perhaps ever at all. That leaves an opening for hard hitting American Wilder.
“If the Usyk fight is available,” Shelly Finkle, Wilder’s manager, said to Sky Sports. “Deontay will take it in a heartbeat.” Of course, a Usyk-Wilder match, although enticing, would be no guarantee, even with Fury out of the picture. Huge fights are very hard – incredibly hard, really – to make these days. That fact is evidenced not only by the red tape threatening to keep Fury and Usyk out of the ring, but also by the frustrating barriers that are holding back a welterweight throwdown between reigning titlists Errol Spence and Terence Crawford. As the recently signed upcoming superfight between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia indicates, however, big fights CAN be made when the fighters involved are passionate enough about it.
With all this being said, Usyk has a mandatory fight lined up with David Dubois for his WBA title if the fight with Fury isn’t made by April 1st. As Sky Sports points out, however, Dubois was injured in his last ring battle, a December 2022 victory over Kevin Lerena. Money always talks in boxing – and Usyk-Wilder would certainly be a big fight. Perhaps not as big as a battle with Fury for undisputed, but quite big nonetheless.
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