Oleksandr Usyk has had a taste of what to anticipate from whispers — accidents, insanity, pull-outs, drama, the heavyweight division and rumours. His first punchs thrown.
Tonight the cruiserweights king has real in his new venture, and he will probably find out that life in the fast lane is quite different to anything world he has conquered.
He is going to be hit harder than he might prepare for, mauled by more rapid and heavier men that he has met before. When he lands his insecurities? From the realm of giants that they may simply stare at him, asking for more.
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Chazz Witherspoon, his rival tonight at 2am live on Sky Sports Action, ought to be no game for Usyk but already the doubts and the questions have been pouring in. This is exactly what the division is about, and that is what Usyk has signed around.
Its been a rocky road to get there from the ring together using Witherspoon at Chicago. A bicep injury postponed a scheduled introduction in the division against Carlos Takam afterward, that week, competitor Tyrone Spong was removed after returningadverse findings at a drug evaluation. Usyk must continue to keep his head screwed on as fresh body after body that is fresh stands opposite him.
Even the division, where Usyk scooped the World Boxing Super Series tournament along with every championship, was filled with sharks who had larger teeth than their reservations indicated. Mairis Breidis murat Gassiev and Krzysztof Glowacki are not superstars with glitzy entourages nevertheless they had been world champions, the kind you might avoid without anybody noticing. Usyk toured eastern Europe and beat them in their yards – Moscow, Riga, Gdansk. Where next? He knocked Tony Bellew on his debut out.
Hardened Usyk and constructed the aura that surrounds him of a southpaw who drowns opponents that doubles up as dance entertainer with a gap-toothed smile and eyes which stare a hole through 37,, these nighttime.
But with more he has to cope at heavyweight. Even more heavy than the competitions is the burden of expectancy.
Deontay Wilder said concerning Anthony Joshua:Theres more stress on him. When I speak about his scenario I feel tired.
Elsewhere Derek Chisora is switching tables and rivals can be lulled by the friendly exterior of Tyson Fury to a false sense of safety. Andy Ruiz Jr coaxed Joshua to letting him touch the title straps before their struggle -in hindsight, Joshua later confessed he should not have done .
All these are real issues in the new division of Usyk he might need to handle.
In return he will become a heavyweight the likes of that does not currently exist.
His defence has become the most crucial thing as a cruiserweight going up to innovate, said David Haye, among just two guys to become a world champion in both branches.
A bigger heavyweight can simply impose his power if he is able to land on you. If he can not soil, it doesnt make a difference.
Former foe Bellew included:Pinning him down was hard because his footwork was on a different level. Any time I tried to make a fight of it, he had been too evasive.
WBC winner Wilder, clearly, has started the derision of all Usyk:Hes too tiny. Hes no danger to me.
Hes already the challenger to the WBO belt, which Joshua and Ruiz Jr will competition, and expects to challenge the winner. Usyk will be known a great deal more about by the champion when he expands his record.
Victory alone isnt necessarily enough in the heavyweight division, which is a major lesson which Usyk will learn. Jabs that come after the final bell constantly accompany it. The question that already looms about Usyk: can he punch? About replying that, tonight is.
The boxing world is itching to know when he could walk in the territory of the giants, if Usyk can compete at the peak of the heavyweight division. In terms of ability we know that he will, the only real one who can even begin to rival him is Fury.
The Allied is astrike and do not get struck fighter and that he needs to remain that way. Hell need to keep the speed and motion that has made him hard to hit.
Hell also need to be able to hit hard enough to halt the guys in the branch. The fact that he was prepared to have in with Takam on debut in May prior to the fight was scuppered by the bicep injury, suggests that he and his staff dont have any concerns on either score. However, well need to see evidence that is hard with our own eyes.
Witherspoon can be completely outboxed by usyk however a 12 round display isnt what folks may wish to see tonight, they will want to see Usyk show us some greater electricity and win by stoppage. Queries will be asked if he cant do this .
However, in regards to Witherspoon, who won National Golden Gloves as an amateur and whose three defeats have come from good fighters in Chris Arreola, Tony Thompson and Seth Mitchell, its difficult to see him lasting long. Those fights arrived in 2012 and 2008, 2009 and hes only boxed eight occasions because Mitchell defeat on him . He has won them the opposition has been restricted, light years away from that which he will face tonight.
In 32 Usyk has time however he is not always going to take it. It is possible he could go to a world title fight in his battle. His objective is to become the worlds number 1 heavyweight; he would not be stepping up were he not confident he can attain that.
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