Oleksandr Usyk has been in training since December for an undisputed heavyweight fight with Tyson Fury, looking to prove to fans and pundits that skill trumps size in the ring.
Much has been made about the Ukrainian’s weight during the Fury talks and, indeed, throughout his heavyweight campaign.
The former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion moved up a division in 2019, a win over Chazz Witherspoon being his maiden contest in the heavies.
Usyk went on to beat Derek Chisora before entering into two fights with Anthony Joshua for the unified titles – both of which he won over the distance. For all of these scraps he’s weighed in around 220lb.
The WBA, WBO and IBF Champion was recently filmed in training camp, shadow boxing to some drum and bass. One fan asked ‘how this guy is a Heavyweight champion with this size?’ while another praised his speed and cardio.
Stay ready, so you don't have to get ready 🥊 🎶
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) March 7, 2023
Now unified champion, the 6′ 3″ fighter is looking to go a step further against a 6′ 9″, 270lb self-proclaimed behemoth – Tyson Fury.
Unfortunately for the Ukrainian – and fans – the fight is looking less likely by the day.
The latest updates from behind the scenes are stuffed full of reports that financial terms have been almost impossible to agree. If something big doesn’t happen around the negotiating table in the next few days, fans won’t be seeing a four-belt heavyweight champion any time soon.
That will leave Usyk in a position of satisfying his various mandatory challengers. First up is the WBA’s Daniel Dubois, and Usyk’s promoter, Alex Krassyuk, has confirmed this is the route they would have to take if Fury talks collapse as expected.
At 36-years-old, the missed opportunity to make history in another division will be a sore one for Usyk, and it’s unclear how many more fights he has planned – previously highlighting three as the number but that will likely be affected by who’s in the other corner.