By Barry Holbrook: The heavyweight debut for Oleksandr Usyk is now officially set for October 12 on DAZN at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) still doesn’t have an opponent signed for the fight though, and it’s going to be a little difficult to get the originally scheduled fighter Carlos Takam to take the fight.
Takam, 38, signed with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing this past week, and that’s going to make it tougher on Usyk’s promoters at Matchroom USA to get him. It won’t be a great loss if Takam (36-5-1, 28 KOs) doesn’t face Usyk. Former heavyweight world title challenger Takam has lost two out of his last three fights, and his career isn’t showing promise. Takam hasn’t fought in eight months since his win over Senad Gashi last December. Surely, Star Boxing will want to have him take a tune-up fight before match him with Usyk. Unless it’s a lot of money, Takam will need a tune-up. Matchroom has deep enough pockets to make it financially worthwhile for promoter Deguardia to let Takam fight Usyk next.
More importantly, the casual or hardcore boxing fans are’t excited at seeing Usyk fight Takam. They’d rather see him fight the guy that recently knocked hi out in Dereck Chisora or Anthony Joshua. Takam was stopped by both of those fighters in KO losses in 2017 and 2018.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) August 15, 2019
Usyk is WBO mandatory for Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. winner
One reason why Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn won’t pit the 32-year-old Usyk against a heavyweight with too much talent is because he’s the WBO mandatory for Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs). With any luck, Usyk will wind up facing Anthony Joshua if he wins the rematch with Ruiz Jr. on December 7th in Saudi Arabia. That would be fine with Usyk, since he’s already made it quite clear that he wants to fight Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Those are both guys that Usyk is targeting now that he’s moved up to heavyweight.
Usyk already unified the cruiserweight division. He wants to do the same at heavyweight, and then retire from boxing after that. If Usyk accomplishes his goal of beating Joshua and Wilder to unify the division, he’ll retire a wealthy man in his home country of Ukraine.
Hearn has these heavyweights he can match against Usyk:
- Dave Allen
- Alexander Povetkin
- Filip Hrgovic
- Michael Hunter
- David Price
- Sergey Kuzmin
- Joseph Parker
- Dillian Whyte – (Editor’s note: will depend on B-sample)
- Hughie Fury
- Dereck Chisora
Usyk won’t be matched tough by Hearn
Given that this is Usyk’s heavyweight debut, it gives Hearn a good excuse to match him against a beatable guy that he can out-box with ease, and look spectacular against. If Hearn can’t get Takam, then it could be someone like Martin Bakole Ilunga (13-1, 10 KOs). He’s got a recognizable name with hardcore boxing fans, and it would be a respectable first fight for Usyk to take. It wouldn’t be fair to fans if Usyk fights Dave Allen (17-5-2, 14 KOs) or David Price in his October 12 fight. It would be too much of a mismatch. Hearn likes Allen, and he wouldn’t want to destroy his confidence by putting him in with Usyk after his recent 10th round stoppage loss on July 20 to Price.
With just two months to go before Usyk’s October 12th fight, Hearn has got find someone soon, and start promoting the contest.