Remembering what Epifanio Mendoza said to Oleksandr Usyk after fighting him in 2013

Oleksandr Usyk v Thabiso Mchunu

Oleksandr Usyk currently sits at the top of the cruiserweight tree, and has an impeccable professional record with 15 wins, 11 of those via knockout, and zero defeats. 

The Ukrainian powerhouse is currently ranked as the world best active cruiserweight by The Ring magazine, the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB), ESPN, and BoxRec.

He is also currently ranked as the world fourth best active boxer, pound-for-pound in the world by The Ring and TBRB; seventh by BoxRec; and eighth by ESPN.

On his meteoric rise to fame, Usyk won Olympic Gold medals at London 2012, European Gold at Liverpool 2008 and World Gold at Baku in 2011, on his way to becoming a professional boxer.

The Cat, as he his commonly known, has also faced a combination of different fighters in his professional career, one of those being Columbia’s brawler Epifanio Mendoza, in 2013.

Usyk, 31, beat Mendoza by TKO in the fourth round in their bout in Ukraine during his rise up the cruiserweight’s rankings.

In beating Mendoza, it was another step closer to reaching the top of the cruiserweight rankings in which he currently sits. 

A video has emerged from the Epifanio Mendoza and Oleksandr Usyk fight from 2013, where the Colombian fighter was seen telling Uysk, via his trainer, that he wanted Usyk to go and become champion of the world.

After the fight in which Usyk emerged victorious, the two fighters can be seen stood in the ring with Mendoza’s trainer, who helps translate the Colombian's message to Usyk.

“He wants to see you champion of the world,” said Mendoza’s trainer, translating for the Columbian after the fight.

“You’re very strong and he wants to see you champion.”

And become champion he did, becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion, beating Murat Gassiev with a very tidy display of boxing skill at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, Russia on July 21.

Soutpaw Usyk is scheduled to take on Britain’s Tony Bellew this Saturday at Manchester Arena, putting his undisputed cruiserweight championships on the line against the Bomber, in what will be a very difficult fight for the Brit.

Oleksandr Usyk and Tony Bellew Press Conference

The Bomber had stepped up from his natural cruiserweight to heavyweight in his last two fights to take on fellow countryman David Haye, subsequently beating him twice in a row.

He had other offers to stay at heavyweight, and was trying to talk Tyson Fury into a bout, before dropping back down to his natural weight to take on the undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk.

Usyk is the odds-on favourite to beat the Bomber, but Bellew has been backed to win by Britain's heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

AJ has willed Bellew onto win, claiming the Scouser has it in his locker to win on Saturday, especially with home advantage. 

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin - World Heavyweight Title Fight

”Bellew does have it in his locker though. The time of the fight may have a big impact being here in the UK. That’s what I love about British boxing at the minute,” explained AJ when pressed on the fight. 

Joshua did touch on Usyk’s ability, though, calling him the perfect boxer as well as identifying a way for Bellew to hurt him, via the counter punch.

”Usyk is like a perfect boxer, so I hope Bellew is working on his counter punching as well, because that’s the way to knock him out.”

Regardless of the outcome of the Bellew fight, Epifanio Mendoza’s wish that his conquerer to become world champion has already come true.

Usyk sits firmly at the top of the world of cruiserweight boxers, and it will take an extremely galavant effort from Bellew to change that. 

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