Oleksandr Usyk’s best fights: Ranking top opponents of heavyweight boxing champion

Oleksandr Usyk has been one of the most dominant fighters in boxing over the years. The Ukrainian managed to take over two divisions and improve after each performance.

On August 20, Usyk will defend the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles in a rematch against former champion Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia. The ring title is also at stake. Usyk will be looking to put on another classic performance and halt Joshua’s quest to become a three-time heavyweight champion.

How good is Usyk? His toughest challenges come from all over the world. What were his best fights? The Sporting News covers the story of Usyk. Who was your favorite Usyk opponent?

Tony Bellew (November 2018)

After his fight against Murat Gassiev (more on him later), Usyk wanted a real challenge as the undisputed cruiserweight champion. Bellew, a light heavyweight and heavyweight, answered the call. Usyk fought Bellew at Manchester Arena in England.

MORE: Join DAZN to watch Usyk vs Joshua 2

After back-to-back wins over David Haye, Bellew was considered a dangerous opponent. That was right to start the fight as Usyk was slow early on. Bellew’s tactical resistance to Usyk’s abilities was efficient as he showed up to outsmart Usyk. However, in the midst of the fight, Usyk managed to find an opening. In round 6, Usyk gained momentum and landed a left hand that stopped Bellew. In the eighth round, he landed a massive left hand that dropped Bellew.

According to CompuBox, Usyk landed 112 shots compared to Bellow’s 61. Usyk landed 16 jabs in the seventh round and only landed single digit shots in the first round. Bellew looked strong mid-fight, but his performance waned over time.

It was the first time a champion had defended and won an undisputed cruiserweight title fight. It was also Usyk’s last in the division as he moved to heavyweight. But his cruiserweight run was just the beginning.

MORE: Usyk net worth: wallet story, career earnings for heavyweight boxing champ

Krzysztof Glowacki (September 2016)

In a bid to test himself and become a cruiserweight threat, Usyk took on undefeated Glowacki for the WBO title. He fought Polish-born Glowacki (see a theme here?) in his own backyard.

Usyk dominated the fight with hand speed and his jab that injured Glowacki in the eye early on. Usyk landed a total of 186 punches (25.1 percent connection rate) compared to 69 for Glowacki (15.9 percent). His jabs were a real difference maker. In round 12, Usyk landed 30 punches. Glowacki hit single digits ten times, two of them in the eleventh round.

Usyk’s cruiserweight rise began with this fight. He ended Glowacki’s unbeaten streak and went with the WBO title.

Mairis Briedis (January 2018)

Usyk’s victory over Briedis in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament was considered one of the toughest fights of his career. His performance was praised by many people. Usyk won by majority decision, the first time he didn’t win a fight by KO or unanimous decision.

Although Usyk suffered a cut in his eye after a heads crash, he was able to control aspects of the fight after round 5. He had to fight back and was injured to a degree, but that didn’t stop his Usyk. According to CompuBox, Usyk landed 212 shots compared to Briedis’ 195, although the latter landed the more accurate shots (33.7 percent connection rate compared to Usyk’s 25 percent).

MORE: Boxing plan 2022: Date, division, location for upcoming bouts

Not only did he beat Briedis to retain the WBO title and win the WBC title, Usyk also beat Briedis on his home turf in Latvia.

Murat Gassiev (July 2018)

Once again Usyk traveled to his opponent’s homeland. This time it was Russia. Just like his fight against Briedis, Usyk defeated his hometown favorite Gassiev in the final of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament.

Usyk dominated the first part of the fight and didn’t allow Gassiev to land a punch until the end of the second round. He landed 252 punches (26.8 percent) compared to Gassiev’s 91 of 313 shots (29 percent). Usyk used his speed to land 47 shots in round 12.

Gassiev, the then WBA (Super) and IBF champion, failed to solve the enigma that Usyk was. As a result, Usyk became the undisputed cruiserweight champion.

Anthony Joshua (September 2021)

Never count Usyk out. That became the subject of Joshua’s last fight when he faced Usyk, now a heavyweight, last September. Fans might think Joshua had a night off when he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in 2019. That night, however, there was no doubt that Usyk was simply the better man.

Usyk landed 148 shots to Joshua’s 123, per CompuBox. His power shots were key; He only lands single digit shots twice. Joshua landed six single digit shots. The 29 punches against Joshua in round 12 was the most by a Joshua opponent.

MORE: Anthony Joshua net worth: wallet story, career earnings for former heavyweight boxing champ

It was a masterful performance by Usyk, who erased any doubts as to whether he could hang at heavyweight. Usyk’s win was a true era changer in the division and a feat no one will ever forget.

When is Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2?

  • Date: 08/20
  • Main Card: 12 p.m. ET | 17:00 CET | 2 p.m. AEST
  • Main Event: 5:15 p.m. ET | 10:15 p.m. CET | 7:15 a.m. AEST (approximately)

Usyk vs. Joshua 2 will take place on August 20th. The main card begins at 12 p.m. ET | 17:00 CET | 2 p.m. AEST. Usyk and Joshua were supposed to be around 5:15 p.m. ET | leave for the ring 10:15 p.m. CET | 7am AEST, depending on how long the undercard fights last.

How to watch Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2

  • USA, Canada, Australia: DAZN
  • UNITED KINGDOM: Sky Sports box office

The fight will be streamed on DAZN in most countries around the world, including the US, Canada and Australia.

However, Sky Sports Box Office won the rights to fight in Joshua’s home territory (UK).

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 PPV price: how much is the card?

  • DAZN monthly subscription: $19.99 in US, $20 in Canada, $13.99 AUD
  • DAZN annual subscription: $99.99 in US, $150 in Canada

In the United States, Canada and Australia and most territories worldwide, the fight will be broadcast on DAZN but not on PPV.

  • Sky Sports box office: £26.95 in the UK

Fight fans in the UK will have to shell out £26.95, a £2 increase on the price set by Sky Sports for AJ and Usyk’s first encounter.

MORE: Join DAZN to watch Usyk vs Joshua 2

Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2 fight card

  • Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua for the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight titles
  • Filip Hrgovic vs. Zhilei Zhang; IBF Heavyweight Title Eliminator
  • Callum Sith vs. Mathieu Bauderlique; WBC light heavyweight title eliminator
  • Badou Jack vs. Richard Rivera
  • Tyrone Spong vs. Andrew Tabiti
  • Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova
  • Daniel Lapin versus Jozef Jurko
  • Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre
  • Money kicks against Kyle Paevie
  • Ben Whittaker vs. Peter Nosic

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