The undefeated two-weight unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk travels to Saudi Arabia this Saturday to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles in a rematch with the man who he beat for the belts, Anthony Joshua. Usyk has shown that he will travel anywhere to hunt for glory, as we take a look at his professional career.
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Usyk would turn pro in 2013 following a stellar amateur career, culminating in him picking up a Gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic games. Usyk would begin his pro career in his home country of Ukraine, as he would stop Felipe Romero in five rounds on his debut, putting the cruiserweight division on notice, Three knockout victories followed over Epifano Mendoza, Ben Nsafoah and Cesar David Crenz before he was matched to face Daniel Bruwer for the WBO Intercontinental title. Usyk would pick up his first title as he would stop Bruwer in seven rounds. Usyk would defend the Intercontinental title four times, as he would stop Danie Venter, Andrei Knizaev, Johnny Muller and Pedro Julio Rodriguez. These victories would send Usyk soaring up the WBO rankings and would land him a shot at WBO world champion, Krzystof Glowacki.
Usyk would travel to Glowacki's home country of Poland as he looked to pick up his first world title in just his tenth fight. Usyk shone on this night, he did not stop Glowacki like he had his previous nine opponents, instead, he displayed his supreme boxing skills and would rip the belt away from Glowacki by a wide points decision. Usyk would travel to Los Angeles next, as he would defend his WBO world title for the first time against Thabiso Mchunu. Usyk was cruising to victory, dropping Mchunu in round six, before stopping his man in round nine. Usyk would compete in America again in his next bout, as he would face Michael Hunter. Usyk would once again display his slick skills and pick up a unanimous decision victory, even managing to drop Hunter in round 12.
Usyk would next embark on taking over the cruiserweight division as he would enter the inaugural World Boxing Super Series. All of the world champions at cruiserweight entered the series, so the winner would ultimately be crowned undisputed world champion. Usyk would firstly travel to the home country of German veteran Marco Huck. Usyk beat down Huck for nine rounds before going on to end the fight in the tenth round. Usyk would travel to Latvia in the semi-final to face WBC champion Mairis Briedis. A tremendous fight unfolded in Latvia that night as both men gave it their all, but Usyk would be the man to advance to the final and hold both the WBC and WBO belts as he beat Briedis by majority decision. The final would take place in Moscow, Russia, the home country of Usyk's opponent, IBF and WBA champion, Murat Gassiev. Usyk would put on a masterclass in Moscow as he didn't allow Gassiev to get into the fight leading to Usyk winning by a wide points decision, crowning him the inaugural winner of the World Boxing Super Series and the new undisputed cruiserweight world champion. Usyk would make a defence of his undisputed crown, as he travelled to Manchester to face former WBC world champion, Tony Bellew. Usyk would yet again impress on the road, as Bellew had early success before Usyk would begin to take over and stop Bellew in brutal fashion in round eight.
Usyk opted to embark on the heavyweight division following the victory over Bellew. Due to the WBO's super champion ruling, Usyk was almost instantly deemed mandatory for the WBO heavyweight title. Usyk was firstly pencilled in to take on Carlos Takam in his heavyweight debut, however, that bout would fall through. Tyrone Spong was the next opponent slated for Usyk in the US, however, Spong would pull out so Chazz Witherspoon was drafted in on late notice. Usyk didn't exactly set the world alight with his heavyweight debut but did pick up a stoppage victory over Witherspoon. Usyk would return to the UK for his second heavyweight fight, as he would take on Derek Chisora. Chisora would start fast but as always, Usyk would adapt and break down Chisora to defeat him by unanimous decision. Usyk was the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt, a belt which was part of Anthony Joshua's unified collection. Usyk would get his shot against Joshua and would yet again travel into his opponent's backyard, as the pair would meet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Usyk would once again impress using his supreme skill, even managing to hurt Joshua on many occasions. Usyk would almost get Joshua out of there in the late rounds but Joshua held on. Usyk would be declared the winner by unanimous decision and was now the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion.
Usyk will now immediately rematch Joshua but extra gold has been added, as Tyson Fury vacated his Ring Magazine title this week and the belt has been confirmed to be on the line in the rematch between Usyk and Joshua. The fight takes place in the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia this Saturday and can be watched live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN anywhere else.