25
Sep
2020

Unified at 175, 100% KO ratio but Usyk rival will be savage at heavyweight

Phil Jay 11/08/2020
Oleksandr Usyk Artur Beterbiev Heavyweight

Ed Mulholland

At present, there aren’t many more words to describe unified light heavyweight ruler Artur Beterbiev as fans and media alike are running out of superlatives.

‘The Beast from the East’ is 15-0 with 15 big knockouts as a pro on the back of an amateur career that was paved with gold.

Beterbiev won medals at light-heavyweight during his vested career, although one man stood in his way at the higher limit – Oleksander Usyk.

Twice the Ukrainian knocked Beterbiev out of tournaments when the Russian moved up in weight. Beterbiev eventually decided to give up on his Olympic dream after London 2012.

Usyk claimed the heavyweight gold and embarked on a pro career in the same year as Beterbiev.

Both went on to win more than one title at their chosen weights of 175 and 200 pounds. But a heavyweight meeting is firmly in their future.

Now that Usyk has decided to mix it with the big boys, Beterbiev has a clear run at 200 pounds plus. The 35-year-old is fully expected to be a cruiserweight at some point in 2021.

Without Tony Bellew and Murat Gassiev scrapping around for belts, Usyk’s old weight is pretty light of big names. That’s apart from Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos.

There are the likes of Lawrence Okolie and Evgeny Tishchenko ready to break ground, but largely many others are not seen as a big threat to Beterbiev.

Once he fully fills out into the role, Beterbiev should have no problem picking up a recognized strap. By the time he’s pushing 37, he should be a fully-fledged heavyweight.

It’s then we could see one of the biggest amateur-turned-professional heavyweight clashes in years. One that should follow on from Anthony Joshua facing Usyk in the interim.

Provided Usyk dethrones Joshua, it would be all the more interesting to see the pair fight it out for a top division title.

You can add the fact Beterbiev stopped Usyk’s buddy Oleksandr Gvozdyk for another angle too.


HEAVYWEIGHT LANDSCAPE

Whatever the weight, Beterbiev has the power to burn. He’ll be savage at heavyweight and the perfect foil for a slick boxer like Usyk.

Everyone is talking about Tyson Fury vs Joshua and Deontay Wilder in the present, but eighteen months down the line there will be a change in the guard.

Usyk, Beterbiev, Okolie, and Daniel Dubois should all be in contention for title shots. Whilst those who shone at the 2016 Olympics won’t be far behind.

That includes heavyweight gold medalist Tishcenko and of course, Frenchman and super-heavyweight champion Tony Yoka.

The next few years will see the winds blow in another direction from the nows of Fury, Joshua, and Wilder.

Their positions at the summit are set to come under considerable threat.

Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.