WE know Oleksandr Usyk is the best cruiserweight on the planet and we know he intends to make his move to heavyweight on May 18 in Chicago.
What we don’t yet know, however, is the identity of his first heavyweight opponent, although all the signs seem to be pointing towards Alexander Povetkin, the Russian last seen succumbing to Anthony Joshua inside seven rounds.
As a former WBA champion, as well as an Olympic gold medallist, Povetkin would certainly represent a decent test of Usyk’s heavyweight credentials.
“We’re in talks,” Usyk’s co-promoter Eddie Hearn told Express Sport. “I think it’s a very tough fight to go into heavyweight, but they [Team Usyk] like the fight. It’s a tough one for Povetkin because he’s in a situation where his stock has actually risen through the AJ [Anthony Joshua] fight.
“He could come out and have a standard fight or he could dive straight into a fight where if he loses his career is over, so he’s balancing up risk versus reward. Fans don’t really want to hear that it’s got to be financially right but that’s how things are evaluated by teams.”
Knowing his career is nearing its climax, Povetkin, 39, is perhaps more unsure about taking the Usyk fight than Usyk is about taking on Povetkin at this stage. If indeed this is to be the Russian’s swansong, he wants a decent severance pay.
“Povetkin is not just saying ‘give me a good offer and I’ll take it’,” said Hearn. “He’s thinking, ‘If I lose this fight, my career is over, so I want enough money to make sure it’s worth taking.’
“Usyk is a different beast. He’s actually like, ‘I like that fight.’ They [his team] are up for fighting anyone and I like that. Again, it doesn’t mean they’re going to fight them for peanuts but he likes the challenge.
“I think if he fights Povetkin in his first fight at heavyweight, that’s a hell of a statement.”
Given Usyk had no issue travelling to Latvia to beat Mairis Briedis last January, and then went to Russia to do the same to Murat Gassiev, we should hardly be surprised. The gifted Ukrainian is a different breed.
Joshua ‘Dempsey’ Gormley, the grandson of former world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, will headline the BYB Brawl 1: Brawl For It ALL card on Friday, April 5, at Cheyenne Ice & Event Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, it was announced today.
BYB Extreme Fighting Series (BYB), apparently bare-knuckle fighting’s ‘most intense combat sports promoter’, will host 10 bare-knuckle fights, as well as a couple of mixed martial arts bouts, and do so inside a Trigon Triangle cage.
Gormley, the night’s headliner, is a six-foot-five heavyweight with a 23-6 pro boxing record and 22 knockouts. He has been stopped by both Andy Ruiz Jr (TKO 3) and Travis Kauffman (TKO 2), yet, according to a BYB press release, is “tailor made for bare-knuckle fighting because, in addition to his rich bloodlines, Gormley has made a living putting opponents to sleep in a ring, wearing gloves, and he figures to be even more explosive sans gloves”.
The grandson of Jack Dempsey will fight veteran Illinois mixed martial artist Bobby ‘Zombie’ Brents (17-7), a former Shamrock FC champion who lost a split-decision to Gormley’s brother, Chase, two-and-a-half years ago on a Bellator event.