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OLEKSANDR USYK

Heavyweight

W21

HOMETOWN

  • Simferopol, Crimean Oblast, Ukraine

KO 14

STANCE

Southpaw

L 0

AGE

36

D 0

HEIGHT

6ft 3"
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About


Usyk was born on January 17, 1987. His place of birth was Simferopol, which is the second-largest city located on the Crimean Peninsula. His career path was not always based around boxing. Up until he was 15, he played soccer and he was part of the academy for then-Ukrainian top-flight side SC Tavriya Simferopol. The 34-year-old studied at the Lviv State University of Physical Culture and he began boxing in 2002.

Oleksandr is married to Kateryna Usyk and together they have three children. He is proud of his Crimean heritage and he has never had any intention of changing his citizenship from Ukraine to Russia. Usyk is a Ukrainian heavyweight boxer who is the unified heavyweight world champion. He also became the first fighter to unify the cruiserweight division during the four-belt era in 2018. Usyk followed in the footsteps of Evander Holyfield and David Haye by becoming a two-division world champion at heavyweight. He outpointed Anthony Joshua via unanimous decision on September 25 in London for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.

“The Cat” represented Ukraine as an amateur. Before he turned pro, he had already accomplished a lot in the sport. At the 2012 London Olympics, he won gold at heavyweight and also tasted success in the 2011 World Championships and 2008 European Championships in Baku and Liverpool, respectively.

In the pro ranks, he took part in season one of the World Boxing Super Series for the cruiserweights between 2017/18. He defeated Murat Gassiev in the final via unanimous decision to become the undisputed champion. The 34-year-old made one more defence at 200lbs and retired Tony Bellew to retain his belts in November 2018.

Unified Heavyweight Champion

Usyk won the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision victory over Anthony Joshua on September 25, 2021, in London, England. Usyk was giving up three inches in height and another one in reach, as well as nearly 20lbs in weight, but the former undisputed world cruiserweight champion’s technical acumen came to the fore in an electric atmosphere.

Joshua finished the bout slumped against the ropes as his smaller foe looked for a dramatic finish and, while it was not forthcoming, Usyk claimed the WBA, IBF and WBO titles after he was given the nod by all three judges. Scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 were just reward after a near-masterclass from the unbeaten Usyk, who became only the third fighter after Holyfield and Haye to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight.

World Boxing Super Series

In April 2017, Usyk successfully kept a hold of his WBO cruiserweight world title against Michael Hunter. He won via unanimous decision and made his second successful defence. Afterwards, he agreed to take part in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series between 2017 and 2018. This pitted eight of the best boxers in the division against one another, with the final crowning a new WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO cruiserweight world champion.

Interestingly, all three of Usyk’s fights in the tournament took place on away soil. In the quarter-final, he stopped German Marco Huck in Berlin in the tenth round to retain his WBO title. Next up was WBC world champion Mauris Briedis in the semi-final stage. Usyk overcame a hometown crowd for Briedis to win via majority decision after a close-fought twelve rounds at Arena Riga in Latvia. One judge scored it 114-114, while the others favoured Usyk 115-113.

The tournament culminated at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Usyk came up against Gassiev, who defeated Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and Yuniel Dorticos to reach the final. Fighting on away turf did not affect the outcome as Usyk dominated Gassiev before triumphing via unanimous decision. Usyk’s control through the twelve rounds was clear by the cards, as the judges scored it 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.

Move to Heavyweight

After defeating Bellew at Manchester Arena in November 2018, Usyk made it clear that he intended to vacate his belts to move up to heavyweight. He was linked with a fight against Carlos Takam but eventually made his debut in the new division against Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.

Usyk was meant to face Tyrone Spong, but he tested positive for clomiphene just a few days before fight night, Witherspoon stepped in to replace him and the bout was underwhelming on the night. The Ukrainian was in the ascendancy before he eventually stopped his opponent after the seventh round as the American retired in his corner.

Usyk was forced to take a year out of boxing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and returned against Derek Chisora at the SSE Arena, London in October 2020. Usyk used similar tactics against “War” Chisora as he did against Bellew, as he wore down the Brit more with each round that passed by. The Ukrainian was unable to stop a resilient and game Chisora, but he won via unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 117-112, 115-113 and 115-113 all in favour of Usyk

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67%

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Honours

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