Phase-one complete: Oleksandr Usyk got the job done in impressive fashion in his heavyweight debut last night, stopping a big guy who has been around the block some in Chazz Witherspoon. In scoring a seventh-round stoppage win, Usyk showed he has retained his speed and agility along with his defensive prowess – being hit just 21 times by the somewhat lumbering 38 year old cousin of former two-time heavyweight boss Tim Witherspoon.
So what next for Usyk, now 17-0(13)? Speaking with Sky Sports after the win, his first fight in almost a full year, the 32 year old southpaw said he is “ready” for the Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua winner.
“I am ready to fight them,” Usyk said. “If they are going to [offer] it to me, of course I am going to take it.”
Meanwhile, promoter Eddie Hearn said of Usyk last week: “He will fight for the world heavyweight title in his next fight, if he beats [Witherspoon].” He wants to jump straight in. He thinks he can beat everybody.”
But would this be too soon? As fans know, Ruiz and Joshua will rumble again on December 7, and we are split as to who wins (although Ruiz is the favourite in many places). Would the winner look at fighting Usyk, the WBO mandatory, in their next fight? Maybe, but should Usyk fight a second heavyweight before then, to further ready himself for the ultimate challenge? We know Usyk has always done things fast: winning his first world title, the WBO cruiserweighr belt, in just his tenth pro fight.
Maybe Usyk has a plan of getting out of the sport by a certain time and is therefore ready to keep things on the fast track. With his skills and his all-round ability, it sure would prove fascinating seeing Usyk in there with either Ruiz of Joshua next spring. Joshua would of course tower over the 6’3,” approx 215 pounder, while Ruiz is actually an inch shorter than Usyk. And if either AJ or “The Destroyer” had a tough time actually hitting Usyk clean, then we would have one very, very interesting fight on our hands.
Usyk might go back to the gym, get ready for his next fight, and it may well be that this next fight is a massive world heavyweight title fight. Usyk might be that special, in that he doesn’t need any more fights before going for the ultimate.