Heavyweight hazard Oleksandr Usyk beefs up further ahead of title shot

Oleksandr Usyk Heavyweight 2021

Ukrainian superstar Oleksandr Usyk has settled into life as a heavyweight two and a half years after the former undisputed champion moved up in weight.

Usyk, 34, looks far beefier than he did even a few months ago as the one-time World Boxing Super Series winner prepares for a world title shot.

The number one contender and mandatory challenger with the World Boxing Organization, Usyk is ready for his opportunity. He’s also rated highly with the other sanctioning bodies.

But it’s the WBO where Usyk is pinning all his hopes at the moment. President Paco Valcarcel has promised the former 200-pound ruler his chance.

The only situation stopping Usyk from facing Anthony Joshua is the Tyson Fury fight. As WBN has reported on many occasions in the past, an undisputed fight overrules a mandatory.

Therefore, Usyk has to wait until Fury and Joshua settle their differences, although he is irked because the pair of Brits want a two-fight saga.

This turn of events means Mr. ‘I am Feel’ will be forced to hang around until 2022.

Oleksandr Usyk 2021
Usyk

So, what are Usyk’s options at present? – Well, the obvious one would be a clash for the interim WBO heavyweight championship against Joe Joyce.

Joyce is the next in line after his win over Daniel Dubois. The only problem is that the WBO rarely sanctions an interim title fight unless completely necessary.

In this case, it seems that Usyk vs. Joyce would warrant that scenario, so the winner stays on course to possibly defend the belt before tackling Fury or Joshua.

However, no matter what happens, Usyk is ready, judging by his latest social media post. His body is becoming more tuned into the heavyweight ranks the more time that passes.

There’s no doubt he has the skills. It’s just whether the champions are too big and powerful for Usyk when it comes to the crunch.

HEAVYWEIGHT CHALLENGE

Unlike the past, when David Haye, Evander Holyfield, and Roy Jones Jr. were all able to move up in weight and compete with the big boys, the top division’s best are more like super-heavyweights these days.

They weigh 250 pounds plus in many cases. Usyk scaled 217 pounds despite beating the much bigger Derek Chisora last time out.

If he can pack more muscle on to deal with the sheer strength of Fury and Joshua, Usyk has a chance against anyone. He’s that good.

He has more time due to the Fury vs. Joshua situation to see through the Joyce fight. Who knows, a defense against Deontay Wilder could follow.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.