Former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk made an expected knockout start to his career in the higher division.
In front of a packed crowd of 9,073 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Usyk (17-0, 12 KOs) turned in a commanding performance.
Usyk notched a technical knockout victory at the end of the seventh round over the battle-tested Chazz Witherspoon (38-4, 29 KOs).
Witherspoon seemingly only came to survive after being drafted in as a replacement for Tyrone Spong.
The formidable Ukrainian can only beat what’s in front of him and that he did, with consummate ease.
Discussing his victory, which marks another big name entrance into the glamour weight class, Usyk spoke through manager Egis Klimas interpreting.
“Listen, thank all of you people. I was waiting for this moment. We had some little difficulties because we have to change opponents,” he said. “I didn’t show to nobody but I had some bad thoughts float into my head.
“I just prayed a little bit. And I asked him to help me. It looks like he helped me.
“I did what my trainer told me to do. I just follow their orders and that was to box. And I did box but if I had the opportunity, I would take that opportunity.
“I love all of these people and I am fighting for them.”
Asked how it felt to be a heavyweight,” he added: “There is a little bit of difference but I used to fight as a heavyweight. But yes, it was different.”
The big question is when Usyk will be ready for the top names at 200 pounds plus after dominating at cruiserweight.
Mr. ‘I am Feel’ stated his intentions to meet them whenever, although it could be at least one more fight away.
“I am ready, I am ready to fight whoever. If they give me the mandatory then, of course, I am ready to take it.”
The WBO is ready to order Usyk facing the winner of Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua on December 7 early in 2020.
But judging by the level of opponent Usyk defeated this weekend, the World Boxing Super Series victor will need a step up in order to be fully up to speed.
Someone in the top ten, like a Tyrone Spong or an Adam Kownacki would be perfect, but it remains to be seen who Usyk will take on next.