THE heavyweight division could probably do with someone coming in and giving it a good shake up and Oleksandr Usyk, the best cruiserweight on the planet, might be just the man for the job.
As those at the top of the division dawdle and swerve, Usyk has made the move from cruiserweight to heavyweight to tackle Carlos Takam on May 25 in Maryland. It’s a sign of intent. A shrewd opening gambit.
Better yet, if Usyk wins that one, and he should, he will then be mandatory challenger with the WBO, meaning he is in line for a shot at that organisation’s champion, Anthony Joshua.
This will be music to the ears of not only Usyk but everyone disappointed by the fact Joshua, Deontay Wilder (the WBC champion) and Tyson Fury have effectively taken the first half of 2019 off (fights against Jarrell Miller, Dominic Breazeale and Tom Schwarz just won’t cut it).
“The fact that Usyk will become a mandatory challenger is not PR,” Alex Krassyuk of K2 Promotions told Video Boxing. “These are the WBO rules, which were confirmed by the organisation’s president Francisco Valcarcel; four days ago I spoke with him.
“If Usyk wins, he officially leaves the WBO [cruiserweight] title. Usyk gains the position of official heavyweight challenger.
“Who is the champion? Joshua. So, Usyk is the mandatory claimant to fight with Joshua.”
Thirty-two-year-old Usyk was a breath of fresh air for the cruiserweights in 2018, unifying all four belts and playing his part in some of the division’s most memorable fights. If he can now do the same for the heavyweight division, Usyk’s cult fan base will no doubt grow and his pockets, more importantly, will swell exponentially. We’ll have a lot to thank him for.
Popular British heavyweight Dave Allen has vowed to get serious for eight fights and see where it takes him.
The entertaining Doncaster man has had a love-hate relationship with boxing over the years – evidenced by some of his results and performances – but is preparing for a fight next Saturday (April 20) against Australian Lucas Browne as if it holds the key to everything.
According to Allen, he has focused and trained like never before and is well aware the upside to a victory could be significant.
“If I’m good enough, great. If not, I can live with it. I’ll finally get to know,” said the refreshingly honest 27-year-old.
“I don’t know how good I am. I don’t know how good he is at this point. Beating Browne gives me the (David) Price or (Dereck) Chisora fight, so the win is all I care about.
“When I beat Lucas Browne and go top 15 in the world with an organisation boxing Twitter have a meltdown.
“I’ve got eight more fights left to win titles. Have eight great nights and make enough money to live a steady life after boxing.
“I’m dedicating my life to the next eight fights see where it takes me.”
Such is Allen’s popularity, there will be opportunities for him so long as he can keep winning. Indeed, of all the British fighters to come along recently, it’s Allen, you sense, who truly gets the business side of things and understands the importance of cultivating a fan base. It’s why so many back him. It’s why, in venues up and down the country, he often receives the loudest cheer of the night.
Chisora and Price are a couple of other heavyweights whose popularity has sometimes outweighed their results on fight night. They too are seemingly always in line for opportunities because of the personality and value they bring to a show.
“Price at the Echo (now M & S Bank Arena),” said Allen, when asked which of the two – Price or Chisora – he would rather fight.
“I would love that but I’m not looking past Browne. It just makes getting up early to run easier thinking it’s a possibility if I win this one.”
A driven and determined Dave Allen is one we can all get behind. Next Saturday, we find out what he’s really all about.