For now, at least, Oleksandr Usyk has bigger fish to fry. The four-belt Heavyweight Champion revealed in March that he was working on his slick southpaw jab and left-cross as he prepares for his rematch with Anthony Joshua.
That contest, likely to take place in the summer, sees Usyk installed as a short 4/9 favourite in the bookmakers’ boxing odds, and that is largely due to the wide margin by which the Ukrainian dominated his British foe in their original scrap in September.
If he prevails in the rematch, Usyk will set up a stunning heavyweight unification bout with the winner of the Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte bout. The Body Snatcher is poised as an underdog, with the Gypsy King’s skill and class contributing to his current pricing of 1/5, according to the Fury vs Whyte odds from Paddy Power.
There's only room for one king. @Tyson_Fury defends his throne against @DillianWhyte in front of 94,000 people.— Frank Warren (@frankwarren_tv) April 21, 2022
Wembley Stadium is all set to host British boxing's greatest ever occasion.#FuryWhyte | Saturday | BT Sport Box Office pic.twitter.com/pGEzaQ9Djq
Usyk has confirmed that while he is already deep into his own training camp, he will take some time to watch Fury vs Whyte and study his opponents in that possible undisputed heavyweight bout later in 2022.
The 35-year-old’s promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, confirmed that he and Usyk’s manager, Egis Klimas, will be in London to watch the fight at Wembley Stadium, while their client will ‘watch and study the fight on TV.’
You wonder if that watching brief will convince Usyk he can cap an extraordinary rise to the top of the sport as the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Taking Care of Business
First things first, the southpaw will have to hold up his end of the bargain by beating Joshua in their rematch. This is expected to happen in July, according to the Brit’s promoter Eddie Hearn, and in a move that will frustrate Joshua’s fans, it could be held in Saudi Arabia as the Matchroom boss once again puts cash ahead of the interests of boxing fans.
Last September, Usyk travelled to Joshua’s home turf of London, and in a sublime showing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium completely out-boxed the former WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion. The scorecards revealed Usyk to be a 117-112, 116-112, 115-113 victor, and in truth, those marks are somewhat generous to Joshua, who barely laid a glove on his slippery opponent all night.
Errol Spence Jr. moves back into the top-5 of the latest ESPN Men’s P4P rankings pic.twitter.com/i6Dq3DgteX— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) April 21, 2022
Rematches are always interesting because it gives the vanquished fighter a chance to exorcise their demons, but even with the benefit of time and hindsight, it’s almost impossible to see Joshua out-boxing Usyk. Instead, he will need to get close enough to land one of his blockbuster right hands – easier said than done given that the Ukrainian has never been dropped to the canvas, let alone beaten, in his perfect 19-0 career to date.
If the bookies have it right, we can expect Fury vs Usyk for all of the heavyweight marbles. What a contest that will be to savour.