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How Oleksandr Usyk conquered British boxing: Will Anthony Joshua be next?

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Oleksandr Usyk ex campione indiscusso con le sue 4 cinture (Getty Images)

Oleksandr Usyk gets a chance to make history on Saturday when he challenges Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA (super), and WBO heavyweight titles from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

A win over Joshua will make Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) the first Ukrainian boxer to win the cruiserweight and heavyweight belts and hand "AJ" his first professional loss in his home country of England. 

While most fighters have a problem going into enemy territory, none of that fazes the former undisputed cruiserweight champion.

Two of Usyk's last three fights have been held in the United Kingdom against countrymen Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora. Usyk battered and knocked out Bellew in the eighth round and won via unanimous decision over Chisora in his last time out in October.

Becoming a two-division world champion would certainly make Usyk the conqueror of the best heavyweights England has to offer. 

DAZN News takes a look at Usyk victories over these highly-regarded British boxers. 

 

Oleksander Usyk vs. Joe Joyce — January 2013

 

Usyk was coming off capturing the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Meanwhile, Joyce competed as a super heavyweight and won the 2012 ABA Championships and 2012 GB Amateur Boxing Championships. 

They ended up meeting in January 2013 in a World Series of Boxing event in London. The World Series of Boxing was an annual semi-professional event using a hybrid of amateur and professional rules. Usyk represented the Ukraine Otamans while Joyce was on the British Lionhearts.

Usyk went on to cruise to a lopsided unanimous decision win, with all three judges scoring the five-round affair 50-45. 

Oleksander Usyk vs. Tony Bellew — November 2018

Usyk and Bellew were at different stages of their respective careers.

Usyk had come off three stellar victories over Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis, and Murat Gassiev to win the World Boxing Super Series and becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion. Those wins signified Usyk as one of boxing's top pound-for-pound fighters. 

On the other hand, Bellew was on the way out. The former WBC cruiserweight titlist wanted a crack at Usyk for all the marbles. Going into the fight, Bellew made it clear that win, lose or draw, it would be his last fight. 

In front of a soldout Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, Bellew had a solid start. But by the end of the fourth round, Usyk's precision footwork and power was starting to prove to be too much for Bellew. 

It was all she wrote in the eighth round when Usyk dropped Bellew with a hard left hand. Bellew made it back to his feet, but the referee knew he was in no condition to continue, and Usyk remained the four-belt cruiserweight champion in what would be his final bout in the weight class. And Bellew was a man of his word and announced his retirement immediately after the fight. 



 

Oleksander Usyk vs. Derek Chisora  — October 2020

Usyk returned to England for the first time since the Bellew fight. In between, he went to the United States and made his heavyweight debut in October 2019, where he stopped late replacement, Chazz Witherspoon.

Chisora, a fan favorite, was riding a three-fight winning streak heading into another marquee bout. 

Chisora had a good start in which he was able to use weight and power advantage. But in the latter half of the fight, Usyk was able to figure Chisora out. He used his world-class footwork and boxing IQ to tire Chisora and win via unanimous decision to solidify his standing as the mandatory challenger for Joshua.

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