Look out Deontay Wilder. Look out Anthony Joshua. The Oleksandr Usyk show is coming.
Usyk (16-0, 12 KO's), 31, of Ukraine, who won the heavyweight gold medal at the 2012 Olympic games in London, is likely moving up to the heavyweight division.
Alexander Krassyuk, general director of K2 Promotions Ukraine, announced through K2's Facebook page on Wednesday, “Most likely, the ring return of Oleksandr Usyk will take place in the heavyweight division on either May 18th or 25th in the USA.”
Usyk, a southpaw, beat Krzysztof Glowacki -- in Poland -- to win the cruiserweight world title in just his 10th professional fight. The victory broke the division record set by all-time great Evander Holyfield, who won the WBA cruiserweight title in his 12th pro bout. Holyfield had been widely regarded as the greatest cruiserweight of all-time, but it was not until Usyk's historic 2018 campaign that anyone had entered the conversation.
Usyk won the Muhammad Ali Trophy as the victor of the eight-man World Boxing Super Series tournament to become the undisputed cruiserweight champion, and defeated all three of his opponents in their home countries. He also became just the third undisputed champion in the four-belt era since 2004, joining Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, and top pound-for-pound elite Terence Crawford.
In January, Usyk defeated Mairis Briedis in his hometown of Riga, Latvia, in January and won a very close majority decision to unify two belts and advance to the WBSS finals. Briedis was the more accurate puncher during the bout, but Usyk's punch volume and activity were just enough to propel him to the win.
Usyk traveled to Moscow for the WBSS final in July against then-two-belt titleholder Murat Gassiev and put on a boxing clinic to unify all four titles by unanimous decision.
Usyk also returned in November to defend his belts against former champion Tony Bellew, who had been fighting as a heavyweight for two fights, but came down in weight to face Usyk. The first half of the fight was close, but Usyk started to walk down Bellew, and scored a one-punch knockout in the eighth round.
According to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who inked Usyk to a promotional deal in September, Usyk should become the WBO mandatory challenger to unified champion to Anthony Joshua. Joshua is expected to return to the ring on April 13 against either Dillian Whyte or Jarrell Miller at Wembley Stadium in London. However, Usyk could be a candidate for a fall bout. A fight of that magnitude could easily draw at least 90,000 fans at Wembley.