By: Sean Crose
“May 25 marks a major moment in my career when I move to the Heavyweight division,” says the16-0 Oleksandr Usyk. “At Cruiserweight I did it all and became the undisputed champion and that is my goal now in the Heavyweights.” The 32 year old Ukrainian fighter is one of the most highly regarded practitioners in the fight game, courtesy of the fact that Usyk took complete ownership of the Cruiserweight division after besting Murat Gassiev last summer in the final bout of the World Boxing Super Series. Since that time, Usyk has been expected to move up to the heavyweight, having no more worlds left to conquer in the division he dominated.
Usyk’s opening bout in the big guy’s division will go down on May 25th at Maryland’s MGM National Harbor and will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. The 36-5-1 Carlos Takam will be Usyk’s first heavyweight opponent. Having given heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua an impressive battle in 2016, Takam (who ended up losing to Joshua in the 10th round) is no one’s tune up fight.
“Usyk has achieved everything in the Cruiserweight division,” Takam says. “I am ready to welcome him to the new world of Heavyweight boxing,” said Takam. “I can promise that this will be a great fight and I will provide Usyk with a huge test on his Heavyweight debut. I have huge ambitions of my own in the division and this fight will provide me with the chance to prove that.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing appears happy with matchup. “Takam is the perfect test for the Heavyweight debut (of Usyk),” he says. “A big strong, all action fighter who will welcome Usyk into the fold with a heavy arsenal.” Yet Usyk is clearly looking beyond his respected foe.
“This is the ultimate challenge,” he says, “and it begins on May 25 against Carlos Takam. It’s a tough first fight but I need to test myself against world class opposition on my new road to undisputed.” The Heavyweight division that Usyk now aims to make his own is dominated by a series of colorful, high level fighters. Aside from Joshua, WBC champ Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury (who many consider to the be the lineal champ) tower above the division’s landscape. At 6-3, Usyk is somewhat small compared to his new peers. His skill set, however, speaks for itself.
When Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson Fought Pete Rademacher, A Champion Facing a Debuting Boxer
By: Ken Hissner
With all the big hoopla today about Floyd “Money” Mayweather 49-0 a month away from his match with Colin McGregor 0-0 who has no credible amateur experience since he was a youth this writer goes back when 1956 heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher was also the All Army champion, All Service Champion, won the Olympic Trials and the Gold Medal for the USA. He was 1-1 against Zora Folley and had a 72-7 record in the amateurs.
On August 24, 1957 Rademacher with poor managerial advice made his debut in the professional ranks against the world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, 32-1 in the home state of the challenger of Seattle, WA, havin Patterson on the canvas in the second round. By the sixth round Patterson had Rademacher down six times before the referee called a halt at 2:57 of the sixth in a scheduled fifteen rounds.
That was bad enough but in Rademacher’s second fight he takes on Folley, 40-2-2 whom he split in two fights in the amateurs and was knocked out in the fourth round eleven months later. In 1959 he won five straight and traveled to Germany in 1960 twice fighting in Europe knocking out Ulli Nitzschke 13-0 in seven rounds and two months later fighting to a draw with Ulli Ritter, 20-3-3.
Rademacher would go to the UK eighteen days later taking on contender Brian London 22-6 and was knocked out in seven rounds. In June of the same year he started a seven fight win streak defeating the likes of Lamar Clark, 42-1 by stoppage, three weeks later defeating George Chuvalo, 17-3-1, in Toronto, and Kirk Barrow with the same 17-3-1 record and five days later defeating German Willie Besmanoff, 44-23-7.
Rademacher opened up 1961 defeating Donnie Fleeman, 35-10-1 followed by a pair of knockout wins. Then he took on contender Doug Jones, 17-0, and was knocked out in five rounds. George Logan, 19-5-1, and former light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, 182-22-9 followed up with stoppage wins over him. Five weeks later he stopped Buddy Thurman, 35-8-1 but lost to European champion Karl Mildenberger, 29-1, by decision in Germany. He would finish his career with a victory over former middleweight champion Bo Bo Olsen, 87-12, in Honolulu by decision. His final record was 15-7-1 (8) turning pro at 28 and fighting in the fight for pay ranks for five years retiring at age 33.
So what experience does McGregor bring to the table against Mayweather in comparison to what Rademacher brought into the ring against Patterson? McGregor is in a no lose situation taking in millions while Mayweather gives boxing another shameful black eye taking on a UFC fighter in his debut. What will this prove for boxing?