Matchmaking the real challenge for Usyk ahead of heavyweight debut

Oleksandr Usyk relinquished the four cruiserweight straps and has proceeded up to fight .  Nick Potts/PA/AP

Oleksandr Usyk, my 2018 fighter of this year, is just one of boxing’s pound-for-pound greatest. No matter that he is facing, it is going to be a welcome sight to possess Usyk back in the ring following his 11-month layoff because of a torn right biceps.

Usyk became the undisputed cruiserweight world champion in July 2018 when he toyed with Murat Gassiev from the World Boxing Super Series final. He kept his two straps and required two out of Gassiev to function as first cruiserweight of this four-belt age to unite all the names. He also made it look easy in the procedure.

After a devastating knockout of Tony Bellew to keep all of the straps in November, Usyk implemented the strategies he had discussed since turning pro. He relinquished the straps and declared he would move up to heavyweight, where he stated he wished to follow in the footsteps of Evander Holyfield.

Holyfield was the first to unify the cruiserweight division in the three-belt era. He finally became an undisputed heavyweight champion.

Usyk’s heavyweight introduction was originally scheduled for May 25 against former world title challenger Carlos Takam — a very affordable and strong opponent to get a heavyweight introduction. Takam, after all, had considerable experience against top resistance and played admirably, also in reductions to Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and Alexander Povetkin.

For Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs), trying to receive his feet wet at the branch, Takam was the perfect opponent. He is a durable guy with some ability and a large heart. In my opinion, he had been a more dangerous competition for Usyk compared to guy Holyfield confronted in his 1988 heavyweight introduction, James”Quick” Tillis.

Regrettably, Usyk endured the injury and has been sidelined. Ordinarily, a promoter has language in the contract which permits a postponement of the struggle in the case of an accident — normally a 90-day window to reschedule. But, Usyk was outside considerably more than this, which introduced Takam from any duty to reschedule, although both sides were thinking about doing this.

At the meantime, Takam signed with Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia and as soon as an offer finally came from Usyk co-promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, they chose to go in a different direction.

“From the time that they circled back to Takam, he was speaking to me personally and they weren’t supplying him what he sought,” DeGuardia explained, noting that Takam also wished to be reimbursed to the coaching expenses he had been outside preparing for the May struggle before it had been called off. “They made an offer, but it had been the exact same offer. After I got involved that the cash came up a little bit, but maybe not the sum we hunted and we had been not able to earn a deal”

That abandoned Usyk needing a new competitor. Input Tyrone Spong, an unbeaten and untested 34-year-old former kickboxing star that has been an expert fighter since 2015.

Spong, that had been 91-7-1 with 60 knockouts and yet no competition, won various names in his 13-year-old career. He had consented to the struggle before Monday, but it was determined by his winning a tune-up at Mexico on Saturday night, he did by second-round knockout against Jeyson Minda.

Some will surely consider Spong as a huge downgrade from Takam. That is a fair observation. Nonetheless, it reflects how difficult it’s to earn an excellent heavyweight fight than to imply that Usyk and his staff are looking for a gentle touch. In my opinion, nothing can be farther from the reality. Only look at Usyk’s restart, which can be full of a ton of high cruiserweights.

It is difficult to produce substantial heavyweight fights. Request any matchmaker. It is why Tyson Fury is confronting Otto Wallin next week (Sept. 14 on ESPN+), as other more renowned men turned Fury down.

In ESPN’s heavyweight divisional ranks, each fighter at the very best 10 either includes a struggle scheduled or wouldn’t be accessible to confront Usyk on Oct. 12. Even dipping beneath the very best 10, it is still quite tough to get a thing done.

Egis Klimas, that oversees Usyk in addition to other top fighters like coordinated lightweight champion/pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, light heavyweight winner Oleksandr Gvozdyk and light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, hasn’t been one to search for simple fights for his group.

Time and again he’s analyzed his steady. He’s often said that his doctrine would be to match his men in strong fights because he’s got no interest in wasting money or time if a man can not fight. When it came time to get an opponent for Usyk, there wasn’t a lot to select from.

“We looked for a fantastic competition and this man Spong is rated No. 4 by the WBO. He is undefeated, [has a] great album. What else can you ask for in this circumstance?” Klimas informed ESPN. “Not many men out there. He came to our note and what do you do? We desired Takam, but what do I do? … you need to work with everything you’ve got”

Klimas then attracted what I believed an extremely realistic contrast to Kovalev’s latest struggle against mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde, whom he had any issues with earlier knocking him out at the 11th round of the exciting struggle. Yarde came to the struggle as a relative unknown with almost no amateur career rather than one notable bout in his four-year, 18-combat career before confronting Kovalev. However, Yarde gave him a very rough move and had him huge trouble at the eighth round.

“nobody knew that Yarde was look what sort of struggle he attracted to Kovalev in his hometown. That is almost the exact same situation,” Klimas stated.

After Takam proceeded on there were talks for Ukraine’s Usyk to combat Russia’s Andrey Fedosov, that has confronted better competitions than Spong but is also not a significant competition. Finally, Usyk determined he did not wish to fight Fedosov since he didn’t need to battle a Russian rival and put in in any step to the rise in stress between the neighboring nations.

“Spong is a much better chance for Usyk,” Klimas stated. “He is very high from the WBO rankings, he is undefeated and he had been prepared to fight. That can be Usyk’s first heavyweight battle but one day he is gonna be battling the winners”

It is difficult to disagree. Usyk is a particular gift. Without doubt, he’s confronted all comers in cruiserweight, such as combating the home turf of the past five competitors.

Now it is on to innovate, where there’s much at stake since he’s currently in a compulsory position to finally challenge the winner of this rematch between merged titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua. But regardless of if Usyk confronted Takam, Fedosov or even Spong in his introduction, he would continue being the large favorite and be prepared for the bigger struggles from the branch.