Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk defends his WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO titles against British knockout artist Daniel Dubois at the Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland on Saturday night, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.
Card starts 7 PM Saturday SA time
Oleksandr Usyk (1.10) v Daniel Dubois (7.00) (WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO Heavyweight Championships)
It’s a battle of skill versus power, finesse versus blunt force.
Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, has been just as successful at heavyweight since moving up in 2019.
An Olympic gold medalist boasting a perfect professional record of 20-0 with 13 knockouts, the Ukrainian’s technical prowess, ring IQ and masterful movement have seen him topple his larger foes.
He only has one stoppage in his four heavyweight fights, which came in his debut in the weight class against Chazz Witherspoon. He defeated Derek Chisora in his next bout before ascending to the throne, winning back-to-back bouts against Anthony Joshua to capture and retain the WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO belts.
He was expected to face WBC champion Tyson Fury in a much-anticipated undisputed showdown, however, negotiations fell through, leaving him having to defend his titles against mandatory challenger, Dubois.
Whereas Usyk’s a mobile, machine gun of a technical boxer, Dubois is a big, rigid tank of a power puncher. Aptly nicknamed “Dynamite”, he’s 19-1 with 18 knockouts.
He nearly lost his secondary title, the WBA ‘regular’ championship, to cruiserweight-turned-heavyweight Kevin Lerena in his last fight, turning the tables and knocking out the South African star after being knocked down three times to pick up his fourth stoppage win in a row.
Since losing to his only high-profile opponent, Joe Joyce, three years ago, questions surround the Englishman and his ability to compete against the elite. Almost being upset by South Africa’s “Two Guns” suggests the 25-year-old is some way off from doing so and the odds reflect this.
The big Brit has never fought anyone with the class and skill of Usyk. With it being heavyweight boxing, he has a puncher’s chance, but that’s about it.
The champion, while 11 years Dubois’ senior, is so smooth and fluid with his movement and footwork that he’ll dance circles around him, keep him at the end of his punches and land combinations en route to a late TKO.