In the aftermath of his victory over Tony Bellew, Oleksandr Usyk has been described by some boxing fans as the best cruiserweight of all time.
The 31-year-old extended his flawless professional career record to 16 victories at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, courtesy of a devastating eighth-round knockout.
Bellew called Usyk the best fighter he’d faced during his career following the bout and admitted he’d simply been beaten by a better boxer.
Usyk has made no secret of the fact he wants to move up to heavyweight and, per talkSPORT, has even stated that his ultimate goal is to beat Anthony Joshua and claim the throne in boxing’s glamour division.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, believes it’s possible that a future fight between the two will happen.
“I think he’s intrigued by Usyk,” Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports earlier this week. “I think he would like to fight Usyk, I think he would like to fight everybody who he views as a top-level fighter.
“I think if Usyk shows what he will show at heavyweight, and if he puts himself in a position, AJ will have no problem fighting him.”
However, David Haye - who lost twice to Bellew towards the end of his career - has raised an interesting point about Usyk after closely analysing the Ukrainian’s performance.
Haye admits that Usyk’s defence against Bellew left him underwhelmed and believes the cruiserweight legend would be in serious trouble if he takes similar shots against a heavyweight like Joshua or Deontay Wilder.
“He has the skill,” Haye told BoxingScene.com. “He showed he’s got the skill. But the shots he was taking against Bellew, you don’t wanna be taking those shots from a Joshua or a Deontay Wilder.
“You know, his defence wasn’t as slick as I thought it was going into this fight. He was getting counter-punched, he was getting hit at range. He needs to do a lot of work. He could physically do it. It is possible, because I’ve done it, Evander Holyfield’s done it.”
So, it seems Haye isn’t convinced that Usyk - as things stand - would have much joy against Joshua.
“We are the only two fighters in history to have moved up from cruiserweight, as a champion, to heavyweight and won world titles,” Haye added. “So, for me, it’s a tough ask, particularly with the modern-day heavyweight being so big, being so explosive, and being so young and in their prime.
“It’s not like [Joshua] is an old guy . It’s not like it’s a John Ruiz with a title. Maybe he could beat that type of guy. But someone like Deontay Wilder, someone like even Tyson Fury, you’re gonna need to do something very spectacular.”
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