Oleksandr Usyk is not short of honours. Usyk’s win in the final of the World Boxing Super Series claimed him undisputed champion status.
On a historic night in Russia, the Ukrainian boxer united all four cruiserweight belts. That was a first for boxing as the WBO belt was not legitimate until after Holyfield’s move to heavyweight.
Usyk was also made the latest recipient of The Muhammad Ali Trophy and cemented his standing in the pound-for-pound rankings. Off the back of his massive achievement, the WBO have instated Usyk as one of boxing’s ‘super champions’.
The WBO website defines the position as a champion who holds ‘the title of two or more organisations, recognised by the WBO’. It also means that if Usyk moves up to heavyweight, which he undoubtedly will, he will be mandatory challenger to Anthony Joshua’s WBO championship.
Now, that does not mean that Joshua will face Usyk any time soon. The WBO also announced Povetkin as their mandatory challenger, Joshua is already booked to face him in September due to his WBA mandatory status. This means that Joshua’s defences are all optional until Spring 2020.
Usyk will likely face Tony Bellew next in a cruiserweight title defence. However, a move to heavyweight is certainly in Usyk’s near future. Eddie Hearn wants to sign Usyk to a three fight contract: Tony Bellew, Dillian Whyte and then a clash with Anthony Joshua.
Just because Joshua does not have to face a mandatory until 2020, does not mean that this fight will wait until then. Joshua is interested in that fight, I forsee Usyk vs Joshua potentially happening before the end of 2019.
I welcome Usyk’s move up in weight, he is one of the most technical fighters in the world. The cruiserweight champion could have compelling match-ups with a number of top draw heavyweights.