IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is already eyeing Tyson Fury after watching him put in a sloppy performance last Saturday night in his successful defense of his WBC title against Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder.
According to Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk, Oleksandr watched Fury’s fight with former WBC champion Wilder last weekend, and he was impressed how both fighters showed minimal boxing skills.
Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) still needs to defeat former three-belt champion Anthony Joshua next March in their rematch before he can turn his full attention to facing Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship in the second half of 2022.
Last Saturday, Joshua activated his rematch clause in his contract with Usyk to force a second fight with the former undisputed cruiserweight. Usyk humbled Johsua the previous month in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision on September 25 in London, England.
Joshua thinks he can improve enough to beat Usyk in the rematch, but we’ll see. Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing believes enough in Joshua to give the green light to the rematch. With the way Hearn’s talking, he has no worries that Joshua will get the job done the second time around.
“I’ve watched the fight, analyzed my preparations, and identified my mistakes,” Joshua said to Sky Sports on his loss to Oleksandr. “I’ve learned my lesson.”
If Joshua’s wrong about having learned his lesson against Usyk, he’ll get beaten again, which would be his third defeat in his last five fights.
I don’t know about you, but it sounds like Joshua’s career as a top-of-the-line heavyweight would be pretty much done. Like other faded heavyweights from the past, Joshua will still bring in a lot of fans to his fights but obviously wouldn’t be able to be counted on to defeat the elite-level guys in the division.
Like all fighters, Joshua’s window is small, and he may have already used up all his time.
There’s a fight that Fury must get out of the way as well against the winner of the October 30 fight between Dillian Whyte and Otto Wallin. Currently, Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) is Fury’s WBC interim and mandatory challenger.
“It will be after Usyk defeats AJ in the rematch,” said Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk to Sky Sports.
“He was. And he was impressed with how the boxers fought without showing boxing skills. They were trying to [badly hurt] each other,” said Krassyuk on Usyk’s reaction to watching Fury score a sloppy 11th round knockout of Deontay last Saturday.
If Whyte loses to Wallin, the big 6’6″ Otto will face Fury in his next fight. Of course, Fury can always ask the World Boxing Council to make him their Franchise champion to swerve the Whyte vs. Wallin winner. Of course, if Fury does that
Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) looked heavy at 277 lbs and was dropped hard twice in the fourth round by a poorly conditioned Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs).
Some boxing came away believing that Fury was given a long count in the second knockout in the fourth round, as they noted that he was on the canvas for 11 seconds.
The referee Russell Mora’s decision to turn away from Fury after being dropped to motion Wilder to go to the neutral corner arguably saved Tyson from being counted out. It was very similar to the Jack Dempsey ‘Long Count’ fight with Gene Tunney on September 22, 1927.
Fury needs to decide whether he wants to keep his WBC title by defending it against the Whyte vs. Wallin winner or vacate the strap and ask the World Boxing Council to make him the Franchise champion.
Whyte has a real chance of beating Fury with the way he looked last Saturday against Deontay.