Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Fury gets unbeaten opponent for ESPN debut, Usyk gets a better one for heavyweight debut

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury is rumoured to be fighting Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas, and Oleksandr Usyk agrees terms with Carlos Takam for May date

ACCORDING to reports from Germany, Tyson Fury’s ESPN debut will take place in Las Vegas on June 15 and the opponent will be the undefeated but unproven Tom Schwarz.

The Fury vs. Schwarz fight will officially be confirmed on Saturday night, during the Kubrat Pulev vs. Bogdan Dinu event in California, reports

As a warm-up fight, Schwarz would have made sense coming after Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. (In that context, it would have been acceptable, logical, given Fury’s two-and-a-half-year layoff.) But coming as it does after Fury’s brilliant draw with Deontay Wilder in December, it’s hard to imagine too many fans will be pleased with the choice of opponent.

The first question will be: Who is he?

Well, Tom Schwarz is a 24-year-old with limited experience and very few noteworthy wins on his 24-fight pro record. He scored a sixth-round disqualification against Senad Gashi – Dereck Chisora’s next opponent – last year and has also dirtied the unbeaten records of Julian Fernandez (a Mexican heavyweight – go figure) and Dennis Lewandowski. He stopped Adnan Redzovic, but so too did Arnold ‘The Cobra’ Gjergjaj (remember him?). He stopped Samir Nebo, but so too did Dave Allen (inside a round). As for belts, he has held intercontinental and youth titles but nothing of any meaning.

On closer inspection, in fact, one could easily argue Francesco Pianeta was a better opponent than Schwarz. Pianeta, for all his limitations, at least carried some experience and had spent time in the ring with good fighters. It wasn’t much, granted, but you knew what you were getting with Pianeta and could judge him accordingly.

Fellow German Schwarz, on the other hand, might have youth and ambition on his side but possesses nothing on his record to warrant an opportunity such as this, let alone suggest he has the magic to conquer Fury, the so-called lineal heavyweight champion of the world.

All in all, if confirmed, it’s one small step backwards for Fury, one giant leap backwards for the heavyweight division.

Tyson Fury

Despite the current doom and gloom (champions not fighting each other, too many cooks spoiling the broth), there is hope for the heavyweight division and it comes from the division below.

Ukrainian genius Oleksandr Usyk, the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO world cruiserweight champion, has decided to move up to heavyweight on May 18 in Chicago and will, according to Fox Sports’ Mike Coppinger, face French tough guy Carlos Takam in a 12-round non-title fight.

That’s as good as Fury vs. Schwarz is bad and is a fight that sees Usyk test his heavyweight potential against someone who has been in with a who’s who of the division.

Takam, though perhaps a little past his best, has shared a ring with Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, Tony Thompson and Dereck Chisora. His fortunes have been mixed, but he has always given a good account of himself and boasts an underrated defence and set of skills. Last time out, in December, he stopped Senad Gashi inside seven rounds.

For Usyk, Takam, 36-5-1 (28), would appear to tick all the boxes. He is tough enough to stick around but limited enough to not present the skilful Ukrainian with too many problems in the process. He is also just shy of six-foot-two and weighs between 240 and 250 pounds, meaning he is one of the smaller heavyweights on the scene right now. That will be music to the ears of a cruiserweight looking to find his feet in the division before, he hopes, eventually taking over.

Oleksandr Usyk

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