IT wasn’t meant to be this way. The heavyweight division was meant to be the most exciting thing in boxing in 2019. Remember when we naively thought Tyson Fury would rematch Deontay Wilder, and the winner might even fight Anthony Joshua to crown an undisputed heavyweight king. Even Joshua boxing Dillian Whyte at Wembley stadium would have been good. Instead we haven’t had a significant heavyweight fight yet this year. (And yes, I am aware Dave Allen-Lucas Browne took place.) The hope, the slender strand of hope we clung to was Oleksandr Usyk stepping in to shake up the division.
The Ukrainian was brilliant at cruiserweight. His footwork, speed and ring generalship are all factors that will serve him well against the big men at heavyweight. But will he be able to handle elite level power in the biggest division? Mairis Briedis and even Tony Bellew discomforted him at times. Carlos Takam would have been a good gauge for Usyk as a heavyweight. But now we’re not getting that.