Oleksander Usyk Rolls On

Oleksander Uysk rose to 8-0 Saturday in Kiev, Ukraine at the expense of the decent but unspectacular Johnny Muller, who has dropped to 19-5-2 and returns to South Africa (where the cruiserweight division, rather surprisingly, is thriving) having survived just three rounds with one of the world’s best prospects and with his pride intact.

Muller did his best, but if Uysk’s last opponent, Andrey Knyazev, represented something of a stall, the South-African seemed to me more of a lag. However, Muller was better than I, at least, expected and probably won the first ninety seconds of the first round, probing with his pushy jab while Muller moved around with that limber footwork and looked for an opening.

Uysk has the look of the Tartar the barbarian horde called upon when it was time to remove ears from fallen victims; Muller looks more like a reasonable nightclub bouncer and it felt like the natural restoration of order when Uysk started to take over, probably at the midway point of the first, his own southpaw jab and digging trailing uppercut the highlight.

To his credit, Muller seemed untroubled by these punches and remained organised. Uysk meanwhile showed better economy than at any time I have seen him, moving, but not too far; not unnecessarily.

In the second, Uysk jabbed almost exclusively. He legitimately throws punches in experimental segments, that is how far he stands ahead of his current opposition. Using the ropes to pen Muller in he opened him up with a flicking, accurate southpaw jab that seemed to paralyse Muller completely; he had almost no success, although in gunning for the torso he half-landed some blows.

There is a fluidity to Uysk’s best work that comes only when he has found rhythm, but I cannot at this stage of his career decide if that is self-inflicted by his experimental approach of if he is genuinely a slow starter. In a sense it would be good if he were – his team, I’m sure, would be grateful to have something to improve.

The third and final round of a scheduled ten opened with a crackling version of the second round jab defined by a wonderful variance between head and body. He can lead either way and both punches are sound. Unhittable because of movement and a judgement unerring (at this level) he had Muller heading for the distant shore of tactical befuddlement when his power intervened: a beautiful one-two including a nice short-jab sat Muller down. It looked devastating at first, perhaps because of the speed, but Muller gathered himself admirably and Usyk went back to work. With thirty seconds to survive though, he needed to hold as covering up just isn’t going to work against a surgeon like Usyk. Standing square, the Ukrainian fired a wicked looking left hook against a fisticly mute Muller who went down once more. The referee allowed the South African to continue but was forced to intervene a few seconds later as wide shots to the body married to straight blows to the face left Muller helpless. He was, by the end, little more than a punching bag.

I am ready for Usyk to be moved on and if he’s serious about picking up a cruiserweight strap before Evander Holyfield did so in just his sixteenth fight, he should be too. These matches are telling us very little. I tend to preach caution in the mobilisation of world class prospects, but Usyk is ready for the top ten.

I’m not convinced the top ten is ready for him.

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

The future heavyweight champion of the world. The man is a real life Cossack.


-brownsugar :

Usyk beat Beterbiev twice in the amateurs... I saw his fight...the guy loves his jab and stays very busy trying to force errors and create holes in his opponents defense, also on the asthetic side, his penchat for wearing bright fluorescent colors exceeds that of even Adrian Broner. Nice to see a fighter with a little individualized style. A very interesting fighter. Would like to see how he could perform against Huck, but i doubt Huck is ready to play gatekeeper just yet.


-Froggy :

The future heavyweight champion of the world. The man is a real life Cossack.
I agree, why has he not fought a top ten cruiseweight yet ?


-deepwater2 :

I agree, why has he not fought a top ten cruiseweight yet ?
I am not really sure. Most of his 8 opponents have been good quality. 4 out of the top 10 Cruisers are Russian. Lebedev is taking on Lateef Kayode in November and Chakhkiev is on the same card ,so those two are busy. The main man is Drozd at 40-1 but he never fights outside of Russia, and I don't think he has to because he gets paid very well over there. Russia and the Ukraine, which Usyk loves, are at odds because the people of Crimea voted to go back with Russia when the bloody coup in Ukraine happened. Usyk left Crimea for Kiev, so that might have something to do with those matchups. A good step up for Usyk would be Arslan,who is abit old,but very tough and might go the distance. A great fight for Usyk would be against the Polish Glowaki who just dethroned Capt Huck. I know Usyk is building up Ukrainian boxing but he might have to travel to get a meaningful fight. Tony Bellew and Shumenov are in the top 15 so maybe he can try and take out one of those guys.


-Froggy :

I am not really sure. Most of his 8 opponents have been good quality. 4 out of the top 10 Cruisers are Russian. Lebedev is taking on Lateef Kayode in November and Chakhkiev is on the same card ,so those two are busy. The main man is Drozd at 40-1 but he never fights outside of Russia, and I don't think he has to because he gets paid very well over there. Russia and the Ukraine, which Usyk loves, are at odds because the people of Crimea voted to go back with Russia when the bloody coup in Ukraine happened. Usyk left Crimea for Kiev, so that might have something to do with those matchups. A good step up for Usyk would be Arslan,who is abit old,but very tough and might go the distance. A great fight for Usyk would be against the Polish Glowaki who just dethroned Capt Huck. I know Usyk is building up Ukrainian boxing but he might have to travel to get a meaningful fight. Tony Bellew and Shumenov are in the top 15 so maybe he can try and take out one of those guys.
Thanks that does explain why he doesn't fight a few of them !


-Bernie Campbell :

Usyk should fight Teper! Lets see past the hype!


-brownsugar :

I wonder where the Cuban-German, Pablo Yoan Hernandez fits into all of this? He's had two of the belts for a littlevwhile now and fights mainly out of Germany. He beat The USS Cunningham twice in 2012 and Arslan but he rarely gets his name in the press too often. ( which seems to happen to fighters who box exclusively out of Germany ). Sometimes its good when a fighter isnt making too much noise outside the ring because its usually the wrong kind of noise. His brother Romero was a silver medalist wrestler in the olympics and a noted kickboxer, so it appears that athletics run in the family. Speaking of being athletic,.... Oleksandr is one of those athletic big men himself, I'd love to see a Russian / Cuban confrontation between the two someday while they are still on top of their game. Usyk doesnt seem like a pure devastating puncher but his punch is more than adequate to achieve the desired results when he lines them up properly (besides no one can have all the gifts, and be the total package, that would be an embarassment of riches) With the emergence of Glowacki and now Oleksandr the cruiserweights are becoming interesting again. Its just sad the United states has fallen off the map where the larger weight classes are concerned. Lets just dispense with the American Heavyweight Program and send the heavier weights overseas to learn how to fight. Lol....


-stormcentre :

Oleksander Uysk was a very good Ukrainian amateur. But - if my memory serves me well - I think there was someone (or, some style {isn't there always?}) that presented issues for him and his lefty stance, and I just can't remember them/it right now. I think the last time I saw him, which was sometime ago, was perhaps where I also got a good look at Lomachenko; at the 2008 European amateur boxing championships in Liverpool. If I remember correctly Uysk was around about that time supporting a haircut/look that would have made him a suspect for most serial killers. He was promoted by K2, same crew as 3G. Not sure if that's still the case. There'd be some fireworks if you plonked this guy in the ring with Beterbiev, Kovalev or 3G (or any of the top Polish light heavyweight and cruiserweights) for a sparring session :) :)


-deepwater2 :

Oleksander Uysk was a very good Ukrainian amateur. But - if my memory serves me well - I think there was someone (or, some style {isn't there always?}) that presented issues for him and his lefty stance, and I just can't remember them/it right now. I think the last time I saw him, which was sometime ago, was perhaps where I also got a good look at Lomachenko; at the 2008 European amateur boxing championships in Liverpool. If I remember correctly Uysk was around about that time supporting a haircut/look that would have made him a suspect for most serial killers. He was promoted by K2, same crew as 3G. Not sure if that's still the case. There'd be some fireworks if you plonked this guy in the ring with Beterbiev, Kovalev or 3G (or any of the top Polish light heavyweight and cruiserweights) for a sparring session :) :)
He lost to the Italian Russo but avenged it. He lost to Korobov when first starting out at middleweight I think. I have to look it up later.