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BOXING

Joshua vs Usyk 2: What is Oleksandr Usyk’s boxing record?

Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound king has dominated all opposition at two weight divisions, we take a look at Oleksander Usyk’s record

Update:
Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound king has dominated all opposition at two weight divisions, we take a look at Oleksander Usyk’s record
Anadolu AgencyGetty

Boxing is a long-winded sport, and the bit that you see on tv is just the sharp tip of a career. Oleksandr Usyk burst onto the international scene with a 2016 victory over the undefeated 26-0 Krzysztof Glowacki in only his tenth professional bout. But the road to this moment had started long before that for the Ukranian heavyweight champion.

Since switching from soccer to boxing at the age of 15, the young Crimean moved up quickly through the amateur boxing ranks to box for the Ukranian Olympic team, competing in two Olympics and taking gold as a light heavyweight in the 2012 London games. On the road through the amateur ranks, he ultimately fought in 350 fights, winning 335 of them.

Amateur boxing is all about out pointing your opponent, but the professional game is a different animal altogether. Moving into this win-at-all-costs world, Usyk made the transition look easy, knocking out his first nine opponents. He won his first title by stopping Daniel Bruwer in the seventh round of a WBO Inter-continental interim title bout.

Those first nine knockouts led him inexorably toward Glowacki, who he thoroughly out boxed. The judges scored the fight heavily in Usyk’s favor, at 119–109, 117–111, and 117–111, giving nod to the Ukranian challenger’s excellent footwork, superior hand speed, and a jab that opened a cut on Głowacki’s eye early on. He then marched through some serious competition to rip the Cruiserweight title out of Marco Huck’s hands the following year.

The World Boxing Super Series established him as a monstrously talented boxer, where he notched up convincing wins over Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev, two previously undefeated fighters, goading Tony Bellew into a decisive match to see who was the king of the cruiserweights.

While Bellew boxed well, and in fact was ahead on all of the judges’ cards, he was ultimately knocked out by a pair of stinging left hand shots in the eighth round, showing that not only can Usyk outbox you, but if he really needs to, he can out punch you as well.

Making the jump to heavyweight had the boxing world divided. There were those who saw Usyk’s superior boxing ability as his main asset that could lead him to become the true heir to Wladimir Klitschko, taking ahold of all of the belts and keeping them in his grasp for years to come. And then the detractors, who said that he was too small, that the bone-crushing punch power of the heavyweights would trump Usyk’s quick feet.

His first two fights at the weight were against solid opponents, Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora. Both had strong records and had challenged for world titles, in Chisora’s case multiple times. And while Usyk had handily dealt with both of them, neither fight was without controversy. Witherspoon had been called in on short notice to replace Tyrone Spong, who had tested positive for a banned substance, tainting the stoppage for most fans. And while Chisora had a full training camp to prepare, the then-36-year-old fighter was largely seen as being on the slide, and his obvious tiring in the later rounds led many to question whether Usyk could repeat the performance on a young heavyweight in their prime.

Contract disputes between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury led to the Gypsy King taking a trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder, the WBO forced Joshua to make a fight with Usyk, who was their mandatory challenger. Once the deal was done, and the date was set for September 2021, the Ukranian who had dominated the cruiserweight division, was now fighting for a unified heavyweight title in only his third fight at the weight, his 19th professional bout.

Once again leaning on his fast hands and clever footwork, Usyk put all doubts to rest that he was not up to the challenge that a young heavyweight champion could throw at him. He showed that he could take a hard punch, gobbling up several big right hands that Joshua threw his way, and very few right hands hit harder than Anthony Joshua’s. Usyk also showed that he packed power of his own, rocking Johsua a few times over the 12 rounds. But the results were clear to see, Usyk out boxed Joshua at every turn, and it was scored fairly wide at 117–112, 116–112 and 115–113 all in his favor.

Now the rematch is upon us and Usyk will have to one again show that he is no fluke, that his undefeated run in the cruiserweight division and his victory over the unified heavyweight champion was no accident, and that, in what will be his 20th professional fight, he carries the experience of all 370 bouts that he has appeared in.

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