WBO World cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (11-0, 10 KOs) will be making his second defense of his title on March 18 against an opponent still to be determined on HBO pay-per-view on the undercard of the Gennady “GGG” Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Usyk, 29, won’t in the co-feature on the card. That goes to WBC World super flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs) in his title defense against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KOs). That fight shapes up to be a very crowd-pleasing fight for the boxing fans that see it live and on HBO PPV.
Usyk is 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine. His handlers want to turn him into a star in the U.S. So what they’re likely going to be doing is packaging as many of his fights as possible with Golovkin’s fights in order to give him a lot of visibility with the U.S boxing fans.
That approach worked well in turning Roman Gonzalez into a popular fighter in the U.S. Gonzalez isn’t a PPV attraction, but he’s very popular. Gonzalez is more of a puncher though with his fighting style compared to Usyk, who tends to focus on the technical side of boxing. Ultimately, it may prove more difficult to make Usyk into a big name than with Roman Gonzalez.
There’s no word yet who Usyk will defend his WBO title against. It could be one of these names:
The 6’3” Usyk needs to improve upon the performance he put in the last time he fought against Thabiso Mchunu on December 17 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. While Usyk was able to get a knockout victory in that fight in stopping Mchunu in the 9th round, it was a boring fight to watch much of the time due to Usyk choosing to box instead of going on the attack to make it exciting.
When Usyk did finally start to throw a lot of shots in the 6th, he was able to knock Mchunu down and then eventually stop him in the 9th. Mchunu got the knockout by throwing speedy combinations and constantly changing angles of his punching positions. Usyk threw a lot of punches that Mchunu couldn’t defend against. I don’t think he was ever really hurt though. It looked like more of a case of Mchunu not wanting to continue to be bombarded by the rapid fire punches that Usyk was hitting him with.