WBO Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk intends to unify his division before stepping up to Heavyweight.
In California on December 17th, he defends his belt against Thabiso Mchunu on the Bernard Hopkins v Joe Smith Jr undercard, live on BoxNation.
Last week in Los Angeles, Usyk spoke to journalists, with his manager Egis Klimas acting as translator, to discuss his recent World Title win and future plans for next year.
“There are a bunch of guys who I need to fight. I would like to fight Murat Gassiev, but I don’t think that will happen in the near future. The guy in England, Tony Bellew, he holds a World Title too,” said the Ukrainian.
“This is professional boxing so you need to go step by step. I fought in the World Series of Boxing as a Cruiserweight. This is why I chose to start at Cruiserweight [and not Heavyweight].”
After winning Olympic Gold at London 2012 in the Heavyweight division, Usyk turned professional and went on to become a Cruiserweight World Champion in just 10 fights when defeating Krzystzof Glowacki in Poland in September.
“I don’t think it was very easy for me” explained Usyk. “Maybe it looked easy but I did a lot of work to make it look like that.”
The 29-year-old describes himself simply as a “player” inside the ring. Klimas, his manager, gave his opinion on what makes the Kiev fighter so dangerous and why trainer James Ali Bashir shouldn’t change too much.
“In my opinion, he can be aggressive, he can trick his opponent. His footwork is tremendous and he can punch - he’s a unique fighter.
“These guys come in with 300+ amateur fights. It would probably be a big mistake from the trainer to try and change something in him. When you have a fighter with this much talent, you just need to add little bits,” said Klimas.
Watch the full video below:
Hopkins v Smith and Usyk v Mchunu are live on BoxNation on December 17th.