Oleksandr Usyk has had a little taste of things to expect in the heavyweight division — accidents, chaos, pull-outs, play, whispers and rumours. All before hes thrown his first punch.
Tonight the king of the cruiserweights has real in his new venture, and he will soon learn that life in the fast lane is very different.
He will be hit harder than he could prepare for, mauled by men that are heavier and more rapid he has met. When he lands his own punches? That they might simply stare back asking for more.
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Already although chazz Witherspoon, his rival yelling at 2am live on Sky Sports Action, ought to be no game for Usyk the doubts and the questions are pouring in. This is what the division is about, and that is exactly what Usyk has signed up for.
Its been a rocky road to arrive in the ring with Witherspoon in Chicago. A bicep injury postponed a scheduled debut in the branch against Carlos Takam afterward, this week, competitor Tyrone Spong was removed after returningadverse findings at a drug evaluation. Usyk must keep his head screwed on as body following body that is new stands him outside.
The cruiserweight division, in which Usyk scooped every significant championship along with the World Boxing Super Series tournament, was filled with sharks that had teeth that were bigger than their reservations indicated. Mairis Breidis murat Gassiev and Krzysztof Glowacki arent superstars with entourages however they had been world champions, the type you could prevent without anybody really noticing. Usyk beat against them in their yards and toured Europe – Moscow, Riga, Gdansk. Where next? He knocked Tony Bellew on his British debut out.
Hardened Usyk and built the aura that now surrounds him of a southpaw who drowns competitions that doubles as dance entertainer with a gap-toothed smile and eyes which stare a hole through you.
However, with more he needs to deal at heavyweight. The opponents compared to even heavier is the burden of anticipation.
Deontay Wilder said concerning Anthony Joshua:There is more pressure on him. While I speak about his position that I feel tired.
Elsewhere Derek Chisora is switching tables and rivals can be lulled by the friendly outside of Tyson Fury . Andy Ruiz Jr coaxed Joshua to letting him touch the title belts before their fight -in hindsight, Joshua later confessed he should not have done this.
All these are difficulties in Usyks new division that he will have to deal with.
He will become a heavyweight the likes of which does not currently exist.
His defence has become the most essential factor as a cruiserweight moving up to innovate, said David Haye, one of just two guys to become a world champion in both divisions.
A bigger heavyweight can just impose his strength if he is able to land on you. If he can not land, it does not really make a difference.
Former foe Bellew included:Pinning down him was hard because his footwork was on a different level. Whenever I tried to make a fight of it, he was too evasive.
WBC champion Wilder, of course, has started the derision of all Usyk:Hes too tiny. He is no threat to me.
He is already the mandatory challenger into the WBO belt, which Joshua and Ruiz Jr will contest, and hopes to battle the winner. If he expands his record into an 17 19, the champion will know a lot more about Usyk.
Victory isnt necessarily enough which is a big lesson which Usyk will understand. Jabs which come after the bell constantly accompany it. The question that looms about Usyk: can he punch? Tonight is all about answering that.
When he can walk into the land of the giants, if Usyk can compete on top of the division, the boxing world is itching to know. Concerning skill the only real economists who could even begin to rival him that score is Fury.
The Ukrainian is astrike and dont get struck fighter and that he needs to remain like that. He will need to keep the rate and movement which has made him hard to hit.
He will also need to have the ability to hit hard enough to halt the men in the division just walking through him. The simple fact he was prepared prior to the bicep injury scuppered the struggle, to have in with Takam on debut in May, suggests he and his staff have no concerns on either score. But we will need to see proof with our own eyes.
Witherspoon can be completely outboxed by usyk however there is a 12 round exhibition not what people will want to view tonight, theyll want to see Usyk reveal us some greater electricity and acquire by stoppage. If he can not do that questions will be asked.
However, in regards to Witherspoon, who won that whose three defeats have come from fighters in Tony Thompson Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell and National Golden Gloves as a recreational, it is difficult to see him lasting long. Those fights arrived in 2012 and 2008, 2009 and hes only boxed eight occasions because Mitchell beat him 2012. He has won them the opposition has been light years away from what he will face tonight.
At 32 Usyk has time however hes not always going to accept it. Its possible he could go to a world title fight in his next fight. His objective is to become the worlds number 1 heavyweight; he would not be stepping up were not convinced that he can achieve that.
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