Hellraiser Boxing - For The Record is a series that discusses a boxer's five most recent opponents, and explores what progress those opponents have made since facing them. In this For The Record, Matt Lewis looks at Oleksandr Usyk's last five opponents.
Hellraiser Boxing News | For The Record: Oleksandr Usyk
For The Record is a series that discusses a boxer's five most recent opponents, and explores what progress those opponents have made since facing them. In this For The Record, Matt Lewis looks at Oleksandr Usyk's last five opponents.

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For The Record: Oleksandr Usyk

by Matt Lewis

For The Record is a series that discusses a boxer's five most recent opponents, and explores what progress those opponents have made since facing them.

After just 14 fights, Oleksandr Usyk has unified two of the world's cruiserweight belts and has reached the final of the World Boxing Super Series with a victory over Mairis Breidis. We take a look at his most recent 5 opponents below.

  1. Krzysztof Glowacki - 17th September 2016 (W UD 12)

The title shot. Usyk had won all 9 of his previous fights by KO, and took a huge step up in his 10th when he faced Glowacki in the Pole's backyard. Glowacki, unbeaten in 26 and making the third defence of his WBO belt, was nevertheless the betting underdog, and he was made to look as much as he fell to a lopsided points defeat. He has, however, resumed the form that brought him victories over Steve Cunningham and Marco Huck before the Usyk loss, but this time against a lesser calibre of opponent. The unknown Hizni Altunkaya was dismissed in 5 one-sided rounds in June of last year, as was equally unknown Argentinian Leonardo Damian Bruzzese the following September. Serhiy Radchenko (a late replacement, 6-0 novice with 1 KO to his name) was outpointed over 8 rounds at the start of February, but not before he dropped Glowacki in the 5th and threaten an almighty upset. 

  1. Thabiso Mchunu - 17th December 2016 (W KO 9)

Usyk's first defence of his new title was also his first American appearance, and he put on a comfortable display to stop the South African in the 9th. Mchunu (17-2 at the time) had been in with good opposition but was widely outgunned against the impressive Usyk, and was dropped several times before the stoppage came. Now, Mchunu has returned to South Africa and started afresh, defeating countryman Johnny Muller over 12, before losing to former amateur standout Constantin Bejenaru over 10. A capable but unspectacular fighter, he will need to produce something special if we are to see him under the bright lights again.

  1. Michael Hunter - 8th April 2017 (W UD 12)

Hunter was in waters far too deep for him at this stage in his career. Yes, he was a former standout amateur and a member of the Olympic squad in 2012, but even Olympians need time to grow into the pro game. Facing Usyk in his first ever scheduled 12 rounder was a mammoth undertaking, but he took it anyway, and actually fared well in the first few rounds. By the 4th, though, Usyk had worked him out, and by the end of the 12th had worked him over. Hunter, despite claiming he'd “love to fight [Usyk] again” in his post fight interview, has so far made no moves to bring about the rematch. Inactive since the defeat and with nothing on the horizon for now, it might be a while before we next see Michael Hunter in a boxing ring. Due must be given, however, for taking Usyk the full 12; few expected that of him.

2. Marco Huck - 9th September 2017 (W TKO 10)

The WBSS quarter final. Huck, one of the most dominant cruiserweights of the past few years, nevertheless went into this fight on the back of mixed fortunes; a defeat to Glowacki in 2015 parted Huck from the WBO title he had owned for 6 years, and he entered the WBSS after another loss to Mairis Breidis halted his comeback in April last year. Usyk chose him as his quarter final opponent, and silenced those who deemed it a foolhardy move by stopping the German in the 10th round of a one sided affair, after Usyk's straight left to the body quickly multiplied into all manner of shots that Huck had no answer for. He's taken a break from the sport and has no immediate plans to return, although has sparked rumours on his Twitter account that he might be considering a move to heavyweight. Watch this space.

  1. Mairis Breidis - 27th January 2018 (W MD 12)

Mairis Breidis is a superb fighter. Simon Valilly and Marco Huck in their own back yards, Manuel Charr at heavyweight and Mike Perez in the WBSS quarter finals all fell victim to the big-punching Latvian, who entered into the bout with Usyk as the unbeaten WBC champion with a 23-0 record and 18 KOs. Undeterred by the Ukrainian's power, he sprang forward, happy to trade, and at times looked to be in control of the fight. However, Usyk's shots were a little cleaner, his work rate a little higher, his footwork a little faster, and it was these small margins of superiority that earned him a majority decision win after 12 excellent rounds. Usyk now faces Murat Gassiev in a mouthwatering final, while Breidis, who loses nothing in defeat, will be welcomed back upon his return.

Posted: 26th Feb 2018


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