Oleksandr Usyk Profile
|Born||Jan 17, 1987|
|Professional Record||20-0 (13)|
Oleksandr Usyk is the WBA, WBO, IBF heavyweight champion who was previously an undisputed cruiserweight champion.
Oleksandr Usyk is a Ukrainian heavyweight boxer who is the unified heavyweight world champion. He also became the first fighter to unify the cruiserweight division during the four-belt era in 2018.
Usyk followed in the footsteps of Evander Holyfield and David Haye by becoming a two-division world champion at heavyweight. He outpointed Anthony Joshua via unanimous decision in September 2021 in London for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
He beat Joshua again by split decision in August 2020 to retain his belts.
"The Cat" represented Ukraine as an amateur. Before he turned pro, he had already accomplished a lot in the sport.
At the 2012 London Olympics, he won gold at heavyweight and also tasted success in the 2011 World Championships and 2008 European Championships in Baku and Liverpool, respectively.
In the pro ranks, he took part in season one of the World Boxing Super Series for the cruiserweights between 2017/18. He defeated Murat Gassiev in the final via unanimous decision to become the undisputed champion.
The 34-year-old made one more defence at 200lbs and retired Tony Bellew to retain his belts in November 2018.
Unified heavyweight champion
Usyk won the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision victory over Joshua on September 25, 2021, in London, England.
Usyk was giving up three inches in height and another one in reach, as well as nearly 20lbs in weight, but the former undisputed world cruiserweight champion's technical acumen came to the fore in an electric atmosphere.
Joshua finished the bout slumped against the ropes as his smaller foe looked for a dramatic finish and, while it was not forthcoming, Usyk claimed the WBA, IBF and WBO titles after he was given the nod by all three judges.
Scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 were just reward after a near-masterclass from the unbeaten Usyk, who became only the third fighter after Holyfield and Haye to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight.
In August 2022, the pair fought again in Jeddah where Joshua fell to an agonising split decision defeat.
Usyk edged a thrilling contest 113-115, 115-113, 116-112 at the King Abdullah Sports Centre Arena to complete a second successive victory over Joshua and retain the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
The all-out assault many were calling for never materialised, but Joshua's performance was far superior to that passive night at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when he surrendered the belts in such disappointing fashion.
World Boxing Super Series
In April 2017, Usyk successfully kept a hold of his WBO cruiserweight world title against Michael Hunter. He won via unanimous decision and made his second successful defence.
Afterwards, he agreed to take part in the cruiserweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series between 2017 and 2018. This pitted eight of the best boxers in the division against one another, with the final crowning a new WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO cruiserweight world champion.
Interestingly, all three of Usyk's fights in the tournament took place on away soil. In the quarter-final, he stopped German Marco Huck in Berlin in the tenth round to retain his WBO title.
Next up was WBC world champion Mauris Briedis in the semi-final stage. Usyk overcame a hometown crowd for Briedis to win via majority decision after a close-fought twelve rounds at Arena Riga in Latvia. One judge scored it 114-114, while the others favoured Usyk 115-113.
The tournament culminated at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Usyk came up against Gassiev, who defeated Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and Yuniel Dorticos to reach the final.
Fighting on away turf did not affect the outcome as Usyk dominated Gassiev before triumphing via unanimous decision. Usyk's control through the twelve rounds was clear by the cards, as the judges scored it 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.
Sending Bellew into retirement
Usyk's only defence as unified world champion came against Bellew at Manchester Arena in November 2018.
The Brit was on an all-time high as a professional boxer at this point. His popularity was through the roof as he was on the back of two convincing stoppage victories against former world heavyweight champion David Haye.
Bellew - who beat Ilunga Makabu to win the vacant WBO world cruiserweight title in 2016 - fancied a crack at undisputed champion Usyk before he hung up his gloves.
On the night, the Evertonian started strongly against the champion, as he was ahead on points in the earlier rounds.
But Usyk grew into the bout as he eventually took control and began to chip away at the challenger. Bellew soon tired and after several hurtful shots, he was dropped to the canvas in the eighth round by a lethal left hand.
Bellew tried to continue but it was to no avail as Terry O'Connor rightly called time on the bout. The Bomber is now a pundit for Matchroom Boxing on DAZN UK.
Usyk at heavyweight
After defeating Bellew, Usyk made it clear that he intended to vacate his belts to move up to heavyweight. He was linked with a fight against Carlos Takam but eventually made his debut in the new division against Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Usyk was meant to face Tyrone Spong, but he tested positive for clomiphene just a few days before fight night.
Witherspoon stepped in to replace him and the bout was underwhelming on the night. The Ukrainian was in the ascendancy before he eventually stopped his opponent after the seventh round as the American retired in his corner.
Usyk was forced to take a year out of boxing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and returned against Derek Chisora at the SSE Arena, London in October 2020.
Usyk used similar tactics against "War" Chisora as he did against Bellew, as he wore down the Brit more with each round that passed by.
The Ukrainian was unable to stop a resilient and game Chisora, but he won via unanimous decision.
The judges scored the bout 117-112, 115-113 and 115-113 all in favour of Usyk.
Even before Usyk turned pro, he was recognised as one of the best fights of his era going off his glowing career as an amateur.
He won gold medals at the European Championships in 2008 and World Championships in 2011. This came after he earned bronze medals at the 2006 European Championships in Plovdiv and then at the 2009 World Championships in Milan.
His final bow as an amateur came during the 2012 Olympics. He won gold at heavyweight by beating Clemente Russo in the final on points.
This came after he had defeated Artur Beterbiev and Yeymur Mammadov on the scorecards in the earlier rounds. He turned professional with an incredible amateur record of 335-15.
Usyk was born on January 17, 1987. His place of birth was Simferopol, which is the second-largest city located on the Crimean Peninsula.
His career path was not always based around boxing. Up until he was 15, he played soccer and he was part of the academy for then-Ukrainian top-flight side SC Tavriya Simferopol.
The 34-year-old studied at the Lviv State University of Physical Culture and he began boxing in 2002.
Oleksandr is married to Kateryna Usyk and together they have three children. He is proud of his Crimean heritage and he has never had any intention of changing his citizenship from Ukraine to Russia.
What is Usyk worth?
In 2018, Usyk signed a multi-year promotional year with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing. This deal meant that he would be co-promoted by Hearn and K2 Promotions.
The latter was founded by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko in 2003 and they have worked with Usyk throughout his career.
The Ukrainian's net worth is reported to be around $4million. This mostly comes from his World Boxing Super Series fights and the purses from his wins over Bellew and Chisora.