Saturday, March 25, 2023  |


Oleksandr Usyk wants to face Anthony Joshua one day

Photo courtesy of K2 Promotions Ukraine

Oleksandr Usyk surpassed Evander Holyfield in fewest fights needed to win a cruiserweight title, capturing a belt against Krzysztof Glowacki on Sept. 17. Holyfield needed 12 fights to ignite his legend while Usyk accomplished the feat in his tenth.

Now, Usyk, who makes his U.S. and HBO debut on Saturday, has plans to eventually follow Holyfield into the heavyweight ranks. A former Olympic gold medalist, Usyk has quickly established himself as a top talent and compelling personality. No challenge is too big, it seems, and he listed another mammoth talent, IBF heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua as the best heavyweight today and someone he’d like to one day face. First, Usyk (10-0, 9 knockouts) will meet fellow southpaw Thabiso Mchunu (17-2, 11 KOs) Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, California on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins’ farewell bout against Joe Smith Jr. on HBO.

“I think that would be a very, very interesting bout,” Usyk told on Monday through translator/manager Egis Klimas of a match-up with Joshua. “And of course, anytime I’m thinking of that — two good fighters, fighting for the heavyweight title — it would be very interesting.”

Usyk, who is THE RING’’s No. 1 rated cruiserweight and the WBO titleholder, doesn’t see himself as a colossal heavyweight, tipping the scales at around 220 pounds when he does make the jump. “I’m not going to bulk up,” he said. “I’m going to be exactly 100 kilograms. I think that’s going to be enough.”

The 6-3 Usyk has designs of unifying the cruiserweight division, facing as many of the belt-holders as possible; it’s a group that includes Murat Gassiev (IBF), Tony Bellew (WBC) and Denis Lebedev (WBA). “This is my goal, to unify as many titles as possible and then turn into a heavyweight,” Usyk said. “It doesn’t matter to me — anyone of the three. The very first we can make a deal with, that’s who I’d like to face.”

Of course, before that happens, he needs to take care of Mchunu on Saturday while also trying to make a good impression on the brass at HBO. “It’s very important for me to show good boxing, to show all my skills to people at the HBO network,” he said, “so they can continue to show my bouts on their network.”