Undefeated cruiserweight turned heavyweight, Oleksandr Usyk, has said that retirement is nearing after twice beating former unified champion Anthony Joshua, and his wish list of final opponents has one surprising name.
In an interview on his YouTube channel, the Ukrainian revealed that he only has a few fights left where he can perform at his ‘very best’. He confirmed that he would therefore only be stepping into the ring on just three more occasions, with no intentions of ever underperforming on the big stage.
Usyk went on to reveal the fighters on his hit list before he leaves the sport for good.
“I can fight three more times at the very best. It’s a realistic perspective for my top form.”
“With Fury, Canelo and the farewell fight at Olympiyskyi [a stadium in Ukraine].”
A fight with Tyson Fury comes as no surprise, given that ‘The Gypsy King’ is currently the one man who stands in Usyk’s way of becoming undisputed in two weight classes. It’s also no surprise that he would like a homecoming to cap off an incredible career. The fact that he hasn’t mentioned an opponent for this one is understandable – it would be the Oleksandr Usyk show, and one he deserves after years of fighting on the road.
The most intriguing name, however, is Saul Canelo Álvarez. The Mexican superstar would need to jump an unbelievable three weight-divisions to challenge Usyk. Months ago it was Canelo calling for the fight, but since his most recent step up where he lost to light-heavyweight Dmitry Bivol, his interest may have dwindled. Still, he’s not known to turn down a challenge.
Of course, the fight could happen at cruiserweight – but if it was to go ahead it’s likely Canelo would prefer to fight at the very top of the weight classes to add to his already substantial legacy in the sport.
If he was to make the mega jump in divisions, and should Usyk still hold the belts at the time, he would join James Toney and Roy Jones Jr in the extremely exclusive club of middleweight champions who challenged for heavyweight glory.
Whilst the incentive is obvious for the Mexican, it leaves fans wondering what the motivation for a unified heavyweight world-champion would be to call out someone so much smaller. Usyk cleared that up with no hesitation in a typically straight-to-the-point fashion.
“He [Canelo] wanted to fight with me. But it will be a freak fight, just for the sake of earning money.”
Usyk’s position in a cruiserweight hall of fame is undeniable. However, how he performs in his remaining three fights could catapult him into the conversations as one of the greatest fighters of all time. As for the Canelo fight? It would be a spectacle to say the least.