Opinion | Jul 23 2018

Top five next opponents for Oleksandr Usyk

Jack Figg considers what Oleksandr Usyk should do next
Oleksandr Uysk
Oleksandr Uysk  |  World Boxing Super Series

Directly after beating Murat Gassiev to claim all four world titles and win the World Boxing Super Series final, Britain’s Tony Bellew called out the now undisputed cruiserweight champion. Bellew, like Usyk, is undefeated at cruiserweight and previously owned the WBC world title, one the Ukrainian now owns. After Bellew moved up to heavyweight to conquer David Haye, the WBC made “Bomber” the ‘Emeritus’ champion, meaning if he was to return to the weight the current holder must defend it against him. Bellew’s power against Usky’s footwork and combination punching would make for a fascinating match up.

  1. Anthony Joshua 

Having now conquered the cruiserweight division, Usyk may follow many a long history of 200lbs fighters moving up to heavyweight in search of a greater legacy, and even more lucrative payday. Usyk has previously stated his desire to move up to heavyweight, and now being an undisputed champion the 31-year-old may not want to settle for anything but the best. Although Joshua is expected to take on Wilder in 2019, nothing is certain, and the challenge of Usyk would certainly be an appealing alternative. Usyk is likely to sit out the rest of 2018 and could be waiting in the wings for AJ next year.

  1. Mairis Briedis

To book his place in the WBSS final, Usyk had to come past the challenge of Briedis in the semi-final, where the Ukrainian was taken all the way to a majority decision win. After a dramatic and thrilling fight, despite Briedis losing the contest, the Latvian came away with much praise for testing Usyk like never before, and due to the quality and competitiveness of the contest, a rematch would not be a miss for fans.

  1. Denis Lebedev