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Oleksandr Usyk - Boxing: Best performances

18 August 2022 12:38:00 EST
Oleksandr Usyk has enjoyed a fairly rapid rise to the top of the sport

Oleksandr Usyk has risen to the top of world boxing in relatively few fights, with his upcoming bout set to be just his 20th and here we pick out the Ukrainian's best performances.

Click here to view further Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua II content.

Usyk vs. Krzysztof Glowacki

Oleksandr Usyk announced himself on the big stage with his first world title, a win over Krzysztof Glowacki in September 2016, which set the tone for how he would conduct the rest of his boxing career by doing things the hard way.

Usyk fought Glowacki, who was unbeaten at that point, in his own back yard in Gdansk, Poland, winning a unanimous decision on points after controlling the fight.

The Ukrainian injured his opponent's eye with an early jab and it continued to bleed throughout the bout.

Usyk was awarded the fight 119-109, 117-111 and 117-111, winning the WBO cruiserweight title in the process.

Usyk vs. Murat Gassiev

After Usyk's win over Glowacki, he retained his WBO title twice with victories over Thabiso Mchunu and Michael Hunter.

Then the Cat entered the World Boxing Super Series, beating Marco Huck in the cruiserweight quarter-final, before a victory over Mairis Breidis in the semi-final brought him another belt, the WBC cruiserweight title.

In the final Usyk took on Murat Gassiev in Moscow, with the WBC, WBO, WBA (Super), IBF and The Ring cruiserweight belts on the line.

The Ukrainian outboxed his opponent, who was 26-0 coming into the bout, refusing to allow Gassiev to unload his power by keeping him at arm's length with a commanding jab.

In total, across the 12 rounds he landed 252 punches to Gassiev's 91 and was a comfortable winner, taking the fight on the judges' scorecards 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.

The victory meant that the Cat became the first ever boxer to be four-belt undisputed cruiserweight champion, all done in his opponent's home country.

Usyk vs. Tony Bellew

Following his victory over Gassiev, Usyk called out Britain's Tony Bellew, who had a 30-2-1 record at the time after back-to-back victories over David Haye.

The two fought in Manchester in November 2018 in what started as a cagey contest, with very little action in the early rounds.

After taking some solid shots from Bellew, Usyk began to take control of the bout in the fourth round. The Cat's movement beguiled the Liverpudlian, leading to him tiring himself out with the amount of chasing he was doing.

By the end of round seven Usyk had bloodied Bellew's nose and taken full control of the contest. The Ukrainian landed three simultaneous left hands in the eighth round to finish Bellew off, who attempted to beat the count before the referee put a stop to the fight.

Usyk landed 112 punches in the bout, while Bellew managed 61.

The win solidified Usyk's position as the number one cruiserweight in world boxing and opened up the door for the next challenge, the move up to the heavyweight division.

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Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua

After moving up to heavyweight, Usyk comfortably won his first bout against Chazz Witherspoon, before taking on British bruiser Derek Chisora.

Del Boy is known for his work inside and his tendency to make his opponents work hard for the win, so was a more than worthy opponent for the Cat and a good yardstick to see whether or not he could handle the extra physicality of his new division.

Usyk outclassed Chisora over 12 rounds, using his footwork to tire his opponent en route to a unanimous decision victory.

A breakdown in the proposed fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury presented an opportunity for Usyk to take on the former, who was the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion coming into the bout.

Despite the size difference between the two men and the fact that Usyk was the underdog, he controlled the fight with his movement, exposing Joshua's foot and headwork as not up to his level.

The Cat could potentially have finished the fight a number of times, but didn't chase the knockout, instead preferring to take his opponent apart from range.

Usyk picked up a unanimous decision victory and put in the best performance of his career to cement himself as one of the best heavyweights in boxing.

Now, with a rematch nearing, it will be seen if Usyk can follow up such a performance, or if the second bout follows a different path.

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