When One Star Fades Another Shines Bright: Usyk Beats Joshua
Usyk The Great.
When you think of bravery it is hard to not think of an astronaut, and when you think of – the point of an astronauts career, it is not unlike that of boxer. The goal is something bigger than themselves, to challenge what is possible, and yet, I am not sure either could truly tell you what motivates them to continue, beyond they just don’t want to stop.
Meet Oleksandr Usyk, a Ukrainian boxer, who if he was played in a movie would probably be ideally played by a younger Jim Carey, who became the undisputed four belt world champion en route to winning the Ali Trophy in 2018 and on Saturday moved up to heavyweight and dethroned popular U.K. fighter, Anthony Joshua, who was the unified heavyweight world champion.
Joshua isn’t just a boxer in the U.K., he is a role model and a symbol of hope, and despite losing once to Andy Ruiz, the fearsome giant with action-figure like muscles looked outclassed by a smaller man in a loss that felt like the beginning of the end for the U.K. box office star, as now Usyk holds the leverage of the three world title, with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury holding the remaining belt.
In short, the three fighters Joshua probably won’t be able to beat, will be the fighters he will have to fight to hold a world title, and his skill set was built more upon size and power, than skill, but his reluctance to come forward against equal foes, negates his biggest strength. Joshua excels against fighters who are either not as skilled or not as strong, but has shown to be vulnerable when facing his equal, as his career, which has been good – has also been crafted well.
Yet, it is hard to make the story about everything Anthony Joshua isn’t, as the true story was the 2012 heavyweight gold medalist Usyk is now capable of being compared to best to ever fight at cruiserweight, Evander Holyfield, and even more so, became a top-20 heavyweight of all-time last night.
Usyk in many ways is what the world expected from Lomachenko, an amazing boxer defying size with skill, yet fighting in a division, cruiserweight that was relegated to small websites with sketchy streaming options such as WealthTV and KloudTV. Usyk’s career was the opposite of Joshua’s, it was behind closed doors, hidden in Europe and on the internet, when streaming wasn’t what it is now. Add to the fact, Usyk is an odd personality, a super-macho Ukrainian, who likes to joke and have fun, which makes many underestimate his in-ring talents.
When Usyk outpointed Murat Gassiev, the fight was viewed as 50-50 bout – Gassiev has never seemingly fought a meaningful fight since that loss as well. Usyk fought Joshua on Joshua’s terms, and by the final bell, Joshua was wincing in pain in the corner, looking badly hurt. One could wonder if the wealth Joshua has, makes these moments that much harder, but Usyk’s mentality is different.
In an era of boxers who are part-time businessmen looking for the highest return on investment, Usyk simply wants to fight the best and prove that he is the best. The concept is simple, but not many boxers ever, but especially now, and to have that type of self-belief that Usyk has, to travel to other countries and win is remarkable. Not once did we hear complaining, or excuses, Usyk showed up, and stunned a crowd that looked close to six digits in terms of attendance.
The feeling after the fight was what happens when any heavily touted superstar loses disappointment from the fans, and in some instances, unfairly, the feeling of being lied to, as with the joy of victory is sweet, nothing is lonelier than the agony of defeat.
Joshua will never be the same, and my fears of him being Frank Bruno 2.0, a gun with no bullets might be true, but at the same time, Usyk also did the unthinkable and deserve more credit than Joshua deserves a eulogy.
It is strange though how the Joshua era was ushered in with the win over Ukrainian heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko, yet, his prime might be capstoned by his loss to another Ukrainian, Usyk.
U.K. Undercard Notable Action
WBO cruiserweight world champ Lawrence Okolie scored a third-round knockout of Dilan Prasovic in the third round of a one-sided fight on Saturday.
Okolie started slow, but once he got his timing, he landed at will and stopped Prasovic. This was Okolie’s first title defense after defeating Krzysztof Glowacki, now Okolie is looking to unify.
Lightweight Campbell Hatton, the son of British legend Ricky Hatton, looks to need a lot more work as his limited pedigree nearly cost him against Sonni Martinez. Campbell Hatton is a work-in-progress and will more than likely always be unfairly compared to his father’s legend. I just hope Hatton gets what he is looking for out of the sport.
Former super middleweight world champion Callum Smith recorded a scary second-round KO of Lenin Castillo, a man who had gone the distance with Dmitry Bivol and Marcus Browne. Castillo was stretchered out of the ring after the knockout.
ShoBox Results – Saul The Star.
Saul Sanchez had the performance of his life scoring a first-round knockout to topple unbeaten rising star Ja’Rico O’Quinn, who dropped O’Quinn three times in the first round in front of an outdoor crowd on Main Street of the Rose District in downtown Broken Arrow, Okla.
Sanchez, who now trains with Manny Robles, and has one-loss to his ledger had fought four times since O’Quinn last entered the ring, and took advantage of a defensive flaw and/or a mental miscue of O’Quinn as a lead left-hook landed one minute into the fight as O’Quinn dropped his right hand when trying to exchange with a left hook, allowing Sanchez to land flush. The shot landed solid, and O’Quinn was never fully able to recover.
A minute later, along with two more knockdowns later, Sanchez won via a dominant first-round KO.
Featherweight Luis Nunez from the Dominican Republic made his U.S. debut in dominant fashion shutting out Jayvon Garnett in a ten-round bout that took place on Nunez’s 22nd birthday.
In the TV opener, super featherweight Otar “Pitbull” Eranosyan had an action-packed fight against Alejandro “Pork Chop” Guerrero in which Eranosyan had just a little too much for Guerrero.
The two threw nearly identical with Eranosyan edging Guerrero by a single thrown punch (585-584) and he was far more efficient throughout the fight landing 42.5 percent (176 of 414) of his power punches on his way to the win. It was a good action-fight.
Canelo and Plant Trade Punches At Presser
A lively press conference between pound-for-pound #1 fighter, and WBA/WBO/WBC super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez and IBF super-middleweight Caleb Plant got heated this week, as the press conference ended with both men exchanging punches, and Plant leaving with a small cut under his eye around his check area as his sunglasses went into his skin slightly causing the cut.
The argument got heated over two things; Plant’s willingness to address Canelo Alvarez failing a drug test in the past, and Plant using an American cussword that involves mother in it, which Canelo took as an insult to his mother.
The two faced off only for Canelo to push Plant. Plant would throw a left hook, that may or may not have landed – and Canelo landed two quick punches after the exchange.
Though not the best role models, the antics made for great entertainment and is what is needed from a Canelo foe, as outside of Billy Joe Saunders, most of Canelo’s recent opponents have been rather polite when acknowledging him.
This is a big PPV fight with bad blood, and that is something that the sport was built upon,
Teofimo vs Kambosos Jnr Moved Again
Triller is making no friends with Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jnr, as the two seemingly have yet another fight date, as Lance Pugmire of FightHype.com, was the first to report the news of the fight being moved to October 16th, a Saturday that will run on the same evening as Mikey Garcia’s bout in Fresno, California.
I think the general feeling is, this PPV was originally exciting, new and something to bring new life to boxing. Now, we’re looking at delay-after-delay which is now cut into the excitement of the card, and having 58-year-old Evander Holyfield get stopped in less than two minutes in their last PPV outing – I think didn’t help with goodwill for the tech company, entering boxing.
The big thing now is – will the fight finally happen on October 16th?
We will soon see, as Kambosos Jnr has yet to sign the contract to move the bout to October 16th.
Top Rank Signs Olympic Trials Winner Mireles
Antonio “El Gigante” Mireles, the 6-foot-9, 265-pound heavyweight from Des Moines, Iowa, who won the 2019 Olympic Trials, signed with Top Rank Inc will make his professional debut in a four-rounder live on ESPN+ Friday, Oct. 15 on the Emanuel Navarrete-Joet Gonzalez undercard at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
Mireles is training with Robert Garcia in Riverside, California, and is managed by David McWater.
“Antonio is a big young man with a personality to match, and he has all the makings of a heavyweight superstar,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “With Robert Garcia guiding him inside the ropes, I have no doubt he’ll develop into a formidable fighter.”
“I want to thank Top Rank for this tremendous opportunity. I’ve had my eye on Top Rank ever since I started taking the sport seriously, and it’s an honor to turn pro under their banner,” said Mireles. “I am a versatile boxer, but I’m not afraid to get in the trenches and have a shootout. My coaches try to stop me from doing that, but I’m aggressive by nature. I believe my style is more suited to the pro game, and I’m counting down the days until I step in that ring.”
Mireles will be in good future fights with Richard Torrez Jr., as well as Jared Anderson in four years or so.
Joe Smith Jr. Fight Postponed Due To COVID-19
Joe Smith Jr.’s first world title defense of his WBO World Championship defense will be postponed after the fighter tested positive for COVID-19. The fight, scheduled for October 30th, will now be pushed back.
“I was in camp working hard. I am very disappointed that I won’t be able to defend my title in October due to having COVID,” said Smith Jr. via press release “When I am better I will be back in the gym preparing to fight as soon as I can and put on a great show for all my fans.”
Matchroom Wins Soro vs. Madrimov Purse Bid
Matchroom Boxing won the purse bid of the WBA super welterweight eliminator bout between Michel Soro and Israil Madrimov.
The winning bid was USD $245,000, and Matchroom now has 20 days to submit a contract to the WBA.
Probellum Boxing Promotion Announced.
2022 will see a new boxing promotion hitting the scene with Probellum, which is spearheaded by Richard Schaefer, former Golden Boy Promotions executive.
Key staff editions are Harrison Whitman, a high-profile lawyer who worked at Top Rank for five-plus years, who will serve as a chief strategy and legal officer, Anthony Petosa, an Emmy-award winning producer who worked with the UFC, Anthony Catanzaro, a high-profile boxing power broker who guided Paulie Malignaggi’s career.
The announce crew will have a U.K. feel as Paul Smith, Ali Drew, along with Adam Catterall and Nick Peet know for their popular podcast, “The Fight Disciples”. All the on-air talent are well-known in the U.K. marking a trend of major boxing entities shifting away from the American market.
The word digital platform is being thrown around a lot and with tech legend, Eric Winter, who got UFC Fight Pass off the ground, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar emerge. The goal from the company is to have an ambitious goal of 100 boxing shows taking place across the world.
My initial thought is, Probellum wants to bring quality with quantity and bring a lot of boxing content to fans from all across the globe.
MMA in 500 Words Or Less
Men’s Featherweight UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski defeated Brian Ortega in a dramatic modern classic that the scores didn’t reflect the true fight. Volkanovski was on the brink of defeat multiple times getting caught in submission to somehow break free. Good stuff.
Women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko made her sixth defense of her world title against Lauren Murphy. Shevchenko looks unstoppable at this weight. She won via a fourth-round technical knockout.
Robbie Lawler picked up a third-round KO of Nick Diaz in a rematch of their bout from the middle decade of the turn of the century. Lawler just looked to be the fighter closer to his prime, Diaz went down and the referee waived the bout off feeling that Diaz didn’t get up fast enough.
Other notables, heavyweight Curtis Blaydes defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik by three-round decision, Jessica Andrade stopped Cynthia Calvillo in the first round with six seconds left, Merab Dvalishvili stopped former WSOF champ Marlon Moraes in the 2nd round, and Taila Santos defeated Roxanne Modafferi.
In other MMA, widely regarded as the best UFC fighter, Jon Jones was arrested seemingly hours after having one of his bouts inducted into the UFC hall-of-fame, and
Smaller Show Results
Heavyweight Arslanbek Makhmudov, who has been brought up through the Canadian-based Eye of the Tiger Management, made short work of Erkan Teper, stopping him in one round. Makhmudov is number 12 in the WBC rankings, and number 13 in the WBA. Within the next year, Makhmudov should get a meaningful fight or be in the conversation for one.
A Northeastern rivalry occurred as Greg “The Villain” Vendetti won a ten-round split decision over Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams in a competitive and close bout as he becomes the vacant WBC USNBC silver super welterweight title on Friday night at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Vendetti’s last fight was against Erislandy Lara.
Unbeaten middleweight Chordale Booker won an eight-round decision over Silveiro Ortiz. This was Booker’s first fight in his home state, and his opponent Ortiz lost two points in this bout.
Another extremely active fighter since turning pro in pandemic, Francis Hogan picked up a win over the weekend. Hogan is getting a lot of fights in a short amount of time, and seems to also have a solid following as well.