Oleksandr Usyk’s form guide ahead of his world title fight against Anthony Joshua

Usyk’s last five bouts include his first two heavyweight fights, Tony Bellew’s final bow and the culmination of the cruiserweight WBSS…

The biggest fight of Oleksandr Usyk's career comes next month as he challenges Anthony Joshua for his world heavyweight titles.

Along with Deontay Wilder, Usyk was on the outside of the Joshua vs Tyson Fury talks that rumbled on through the first half of 2021.

The all-British unification is still the end goal for Joshua, but 'The Cat' can gatecrash those plans if he defeats AJ in at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.

Planet Sport looks back on Usyk's last five fights to see if he has the credentials to dethrone the world heavyweight champion.

Dereck Chisora - October 31, 2020

Usyk's most recent bout took place against 'Del Boy' and the Ukrainian was the heavy favourite heading into the fight.

Some suspected Chisora's resilience and punching power could cause Usyk problems as he came up from cruiserweight.

The Brit gave a good account of himself as he made a strong start. But as he often does, Usyk grew into the fight and wore Chisora down as the rounds went on.

Usyk was most active, landing 55 more punches (194-139) according to CompuBox.

The judges were in agreement, scoring it 117-112, 115-113 and 115-113 in favour of the Ukrainian to keep his WBO mandatory position intact.

Joyce calls out winner of Joshua-Usyk

Chazz Witherspoon - October 12, 2019

Usyk's long-awaited debut at heavyweight took place just short of two years ago. He was initially due to face Tyrone Spong, but the American missed out on the payday as he tested positive for Clomiphene.

Witherspoon stepped in his compatriot's place at the Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois.

As we saw with Joshua's loss against Andy Ruiz Jr, a late change of opponent can have a huge impact on the outcome on fight night.

However, the dramatic build-up did not faze The Cat who dominated the American, landing 139 punches to Witherspoon's 21.

Usyk was also more accurate as 40% of his shots landed compared to just 10% for his opponent.

The 34-year-old's power punches (86 landed) proved decisive as Witherspoon retired on his stool before the eighth round.

Tony Bellew - November 10, 2018

Bellew had his eyes on retirement ahead of this fight, but he wanted to challenge unified cruiserweight champion Usyk before he called time on his career.

The Brit was on the back of successive stoppage victories over David Haye and was returning to cruiserweight in a bid to become a two-time world champion.

Given his resume, Usyk was understandably the heavy favourite for this fight. Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn, clearly seeing the benefits of working with Bellew's opponent, even signed him up for a co-promotional deal in the build-up.

On the night, Bellew came out firing in the third round after a slow start from both fighters. After a strong couple of rounds for Bellew, Usyk then came into his own as his pinpoint jab left a mark on his opponent.

Bellew was tiring by the halfway point and the fight was stopped in the eighth after Usyk landed several strong left hands on the challenger's head. The last dropped Bellew and the fight was quickly called off.

Murat Gassiev - July 21, 2018

Usyk's penultimate fight at cruiserweight was the final of the World Boxing Super Series in 2018.

The WBC and WBO champion challenged Gassiev, who was the holder of the WBA (Super) and IBF titles. Usyk was on away soil as he was facing the Russian at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow.

In front of a hostile crowd, Usyk demonstated why he was rated the best cruiserweight in the world at the time.

Usyk landed 252 punches to his opponent's 91. He also landed 71 more power shows than Gassiev (153-82).

The biggest difference was in jabs landed, as 'Iron' only caught Usyk with nine over the 12 rounds. Usyk, in contrast, landed 99.

Usyk's dominance was shown by the scorecards as the judges scored it 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 in favour of the WBSS winner and the new unified cruiserweight champion.

Mairis Briedis - January 27, 2018

Usyk picked up a TKO victory over German Marco Huck in the opening round of the WBSS. This set him up with a semi-final clash against Briedis, who was the WBC champion.

The Ukrainian - who was holding the WBO title - had his toughest bout of the tournament against Briedis.

Usyk was in the ascendency for much of the bout. Even though he only landed 16% of his jabs (91 out of 550), he still outperformed his opponent who landed just 46.

Briedis fared better in terms of power punches, as 29 more hit the mark.

However, the judges favoured Usyk's success with the jab over Briedis' power punches as the fight went the distance. One judge scored it 114-114, but the other two had it 115-113 in favour of Usyk.

READ MORE: AJ form guide ahead of fight against Usyk

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