Oleksandr Usyk has had just five fights in the heavyweight ranks, scoring two stoppages and three decision wins. In his sixth, he will compete to become undisputed champion.
The Ukrainian has wasted no time in the sport’s top division after winning all four belts down at cruiserweight, and has now signed contracts to face Tyson Fury and add the WBC belt to his collection of the WBA, IBF and WBO.
Fury was most recently out against MMA star and pro boxing debutant, Francis Ngannou, and an underwhelming performance left many changing their predictions for the Usyk fight.
Former unified heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman, believes Fury loses to the Ukrainian, but that’s not an opinion that’s been affected by the Ngannou performance.
The two-time heavyweight champion – who caused one of the biggest upsets the sport has seen when he knocked out Lennox Lewis in 2001 – has always said he believes Usyk will score a late stoppage.
He recently reiterated that view to FightHype.
“Man, I always had Usyk against Fury. I feel like Tyson Fury does ‘Usyk’ to most of the heavyweights. He out-moves and out-punches the guys, and most heavyweights are like one-dimensional just trying to land that bomb. Tyson can use his movement, weight, athleticism, against most heavyweights, but Usyk used his athleticism.
Usyk got boxing skills. Usyk done fought welterweight champions coming up. Look at his resume. He has as amazing career. Olympic Gold Medalist, undisputed cruiserweight champion, unified heavyweight champion. Clearly he can take the punches of the big guys. I favour Usyk in this fight.”
The two heavyweight champions are slated to fight for all four belts in February. Despite Rahman’s confidence, Usyk will step through the ropes a slight underdog with the bookmakers in the UK.