The plan for Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk to move up to Heavyweight was hatched while he was amateur
Oleksandr Usyk’s Heavyweight debut is just weeks out, but it’s a move he’s been preparing for since his days as a young amateur. He faces Tyrone Spong at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday October 12, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Usyk (16-0 12 KOs) makes the jump to Heavyweight after achieving undisputed champion status at Cruiserweight, highlighting his campaign at the 200-pound limit with a string of noteworthy road wins over Marco Huck, Mairis Breidis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew.
We’re working hard, smiling, going crazy during the training camp, and doing our job. – Oleksandr Usyk
On October 12, the Ukrainian pound-for-pound star takes the first steps in a bid to become a two-division World ruler against Spong (14-0 13 KOs) in the Windy City, but Usyk says his rise to Heavyweight started during his amateur days. While this move is daunting, challenging the biggest names in boxing’s top division is a welcomed assignment for the 32 year old.
“There have been no problems in order to move to the Heavyweight division,” said Usyk. “At least to me there have been no problems. I simply moved to the Heavyweight division, and that was it. Virtually nothing has changed in my training, we’ve simply started doing even more work. Different, and hard work, which is practicing with big guys who pose a great threat.
“We’re working hard, smiling, going crazy during the training camp, and doing our job. Everyone who is in my camp does their job 100 percent meaning that they give everything so that I feel comfortable. Everything is as comfortable as possible; the food, rehab, resting, massage, training. My team is looking after all of it and we are working hard together.
“Before the Olympics, and even before the World Championships, when I was boxing at 91 kilos, we were experimentally boxing in the Heavyweight class specifically so that it would be more dangerous. I weighed in at a competition, for example, not 91 kilos but 91.5, and was boxing against the guys weighing 100-102-105, which was our objective. And it was not only I who was boxing one class up, Vasiliy Lomachenko was, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and all of those who were part of that golden Ukrainian team.
“I’m really looking forward to boxing on October 12. I very much missed the boxing. I love boxing, and really there is a lot of talk about it, but I’m not paying attention to it. My objective is to do my job in the gym in order to show all the enthusiasts and fans great boxing in the ring.”
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO USBA SUPER WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION CHARLES CONWELL, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH BITE DOWN BOXING, DISCUSSING THE IMPORTANCE OF HIS OCT. 12 BOUT AGAINST PATRICK DAY ON THE USYK-SPONG UNDERCARD.
Usyk’s entrance into the new division versus Spong is part of an electric evening of action in Chicago as unified Super Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill defends her WBA and WBC titles against familiar foe Erica Farias, unbeaten Super Middleweight showman Anthony Sims Jr returns to action against Morgan Fitch, 2016 USA Olympian Charles Conwell defends his USBA Super Welterweight crown against Patrick Day, an all-Chicago Super Featherweight clash between Josh Hernandez and Giovanni Mioletti and the fourth pro outing for Ohio’s Otha Jones III.
Featured image provided by Matchroom Boxing