BOXING

Usyk Planning Cruiserweight Return After Fury Rematch to Become Two-Time Undisputed

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Oleksandr Usyk could move back down to cruiserweight following the Tyson Fury rematch.

Usyk became the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion since 1999 when he beat Fury via a split decision. The win made him undisputed in a second weight class, following his feat at cruiserweight. He followed Evander Holyfield in becoming undisputed at cruiserweight and heavyweight. He also joined Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue in becoming a two-weight undisputed champion in the four-belt era.

There were question marks over whether Usyk could handle the heavyweight division. He answered those questions in the affirmative, beating much bigger guys such as Anthony Joshua and Fury. In doing so, he had to sacrifice some of his best attributes, such as his speed, to accommodate his weight. However, he managed to do so, allowing him to tire out his opponents and beat them at the back end of the fight.

Oleksandr Usyk-Tyson Fury Heavyweight Championship Rematch Set For Dec. 21  - The Ring

READ: Oleksandr Usyk leads the way as Ring Magazine release new top ten heavyweight rankings after Tyson Fury win

Should Usyk come out victorious against Fury, he will have conclusively beaten the best of his era twice. There are already suggestions that Usyk should retire after having beaten Fury. The Gypsy King did not give Wladimir Klitschko a rematch. Since Usyk is undefeated, having won everything from the amateurs to the Olympics and the pro ranks, it may be better for his legacy to walk away undefeated. And yet, a move down to cruiserweight could happen.

“Oleksandr Usyk has declared that he is considering moving back down to CRUISERWEIGHT after the Tyson Fury rematch so he can attempt to become the undisputed WBA, WBC, IBF & WBO cruiserweight world champion for a second time,” Michael Benson said

“There’s no point bothering with a rematch because the undisputed is done.  I heard a rumour, I’m gonna start this rumour anyway. Oleksandr is dropping down to cruiserweight. That’s the rumour right now,” Derek Chisora said

If Usyk were to do that, he would be a danger in the weight class. The division’s current champions are not at the same level as the Ukrainian. Chris Billam-Smith holds the WBO title and has already been beaten. Meanwhile, the IBF is held by Jai Opetaia. Opetaia is a skilled boxer but struggled against Mairis Briedis in his last fight. Dmitry Bivol has beaten the WBA Champion Gilberto Ramirez, while the WBC Champion Norair Mikaeljan has two losses.

But these plans all depend on how well Usyk can perform at this late stage of his career. Usyk is 37 years old and at the tail-end of his career. Father time catches up with everyone. However, based on the introduction of Saudis into boxing, Usyk has plenty of big fights available if he wants to pursue them. Given his increasing leverage, the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion can command big purses for doing so. Before beating Fury, he stated that cruiserweight was an option.

“This is an incredible feeling, having the opportunity to be here now and do what God allows me to do. All the historic champions; all these boxers have done a lot for boxing. Rocky Marciano was never defeated, he died undefeated. Maybe I will go back to cruiserweight and win,” Usyk revealed

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