A number one ranked heavyweight has claimed that Oleksandr Usyk is unproven and his best win was against ‘a declining Anthony Joshua.’
Usyk is, for many, a pound-for-pound star. The Ukrainian southpaw is a boxing technician with great feet, high IQ, and the fitness to go 12 rounds whenever is required.
It is those skills that have seen him win an Olympic gold medal, become the undisputed cruiserweight champion and winner of the Muhammad Ali trophy and then go on to big wins at heavyweight over Derek Chisora, two 12-round battles with two-time world champion Anthony Joshua and then saw off the punching power of young challenger Daniel Dubois most recently.
Next up for Usyk is the chance to become undisputed king when he takes on the WBC ruler Tyson Fury at some point early in 2024.
One on-looker, however, is not impressed: WBO number 1 ranked fighter and interim heavyweight champion, Zhilei Zhang, who has twice beaten Brit Joe Joyce by knockout to put himself in contention for a world title shot of his own, has said that Usyk is too small for the division.
The Chinese fighter has been speaking to ProBox TV about Usyk’s record so far.
“[Usyk is] unproven, When he fought [Anthony] Joshua, Joshua was on the decline, so I won’t think he is proven one way or another.”
Zhang did then have some praise for what Usyk has achieved.
“He has three belts, and that’s not something easy to do. He is moving up from a cruiserweight, and right now he is still a cruiserweight. So if we share the ring he is going to sleep early.”
Zhang then spoke of his keenness to be matched with Usyk in the future and said what it would mean to his country.
“China needs this fight. It is beyond myself, the whole country needs a high-level sporting event, a professional boxing event like this. It [would] boost up the country’s pride, and China is going to love it [if he could fight in China].”
Zhang has also been keen to call out Fury in the past and remains the WBO mandatory challenger to Usyk’s belt, so he seems well-placed to fight the winner of the much anticipated undisputed battle at some point.