Oleksandr Usyk makes his heavyweight division debut against former title challenger Carlos Takam on May 25, 2019 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Usyk, who is coming off a sensational knockout win over Tony Bellew, announced in March that he is making his move to heavyweight after winning all the belts at cruiserweight and virtually wiping out every opposition at that weight class. In doing so, Usyk vacates all the belts as he hopes to win world the world title in boxing’s premier division.

“Boxing" Undisputed Champion

Oleksandr Usyk is the first boxer in history to hold the four major titles in the cruiserweight division. He became undisputed cruiserweight champion in only his 15th fight, thereby becoming the fastest to do so at any weight class. He is also the first undisputed world boxing champion from Ukraine, the 2012 Olympic Heavyweight gold medalist and the 2011 World Championship heavyweight gold medalist.

The Ukrainian stands 6-3 and has a reach of 78 inches while fighting as a southpaw. Usyk has an unbeaten record of 16-0 with 12 knockouts. He started his career knocking out one opponent after another but on the way to becoming undisputed cruiserweight champion, he’s showed that he can box and he outboxed two cruiserweight champions on his path to the Ali Trophy.

Usyk is known for his devastating punching power. But he isn’t just a fighter who relies on that, he is also a very skilled boxer whose movement is rarely seen in the bigger divisions. He is also an excellent boxer who can go 12 rounds. Remember that he outboxed Mairis Briedis in the WBSS Cruiserweight tournament semifinals and outpointed Murat Gassiev in a thrilling finals.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from betonline.ag as of 5/06/19

“Boxing" Built Like A Tank

Takam is the former WBC silver heavyweight and IBF intercontinental heavyweight champion who challenged (and got knocked out by) Anthony Joshua for the unified heavyweight title in 2017. Takam is also a grizzled veteran who has fought the likes of Frans Botha, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and Dereck Chisora.

The Frenchman stands 6-1 ½ with a reach of 80 ½ inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. Takam has a professional boxing record of 36-5-1 with 28 knockouts. He has lost half of his last six bouts and his last two losses were knockout defeats at the hands of Anthony Joshua and Dereck Chisora.

Takam is built like a tank and loves to move forward throwing his haymakers. He has decent pop in his punches as five out of his last six wins have been by knockouts. He isn’t so much a good boxer and can easily be outboxed. However, his main weakness is his lack of stamina in the later rounds and his tendency to drop his hands while moving forward. That should leave plenty of opening for Usyk,

“Boxing" Who Wins?

Usyk is trying to do what only Evander Holyfield has done and that is to become undisputed world champion in two different weight classes and he is trying to do so in the same weight classes as The Real Deal did: Cruiserweight and Heavyweight.

When it comes to skill, Usyk was a class of his own at cruiserweight. Not only did he possess natural punching power, devastating at that, his movement was something we don’t see even from the elites of the bigger divisions. Usyk moves well with his punches, bobs and weaves like a small fighter and throws a variety of punches. Moving forward, while he may not be as huge as Joshua or Wilder, he may be more skilled than both and probably at par with Tyson Fury in terms of ring agility, movement, defense and IQ.

Fighting Takam is a smart move for Usyk because he isn’t wasting any time in getting adjusted to the heavyweight division. He is fighting a legit heavyweight and one who’s had the experience in fighting big names like Povetkin and Parker. But while he’s doing that, he’s also fighting Takam at a point in the latter’s career where he is no longer a threat. That’s why Usyk is a massive favorite in the boxing betting market.

The Frenchman has seen his best years pass him by and at the age of 38, he won’t pose a serious threat to Usyk. What he does though is test Usyk’s pop and durability against a true heavyweight. Takam has lost three out of his last bouts and has been knocked out in two of those. If Usyk plays his cards right, a knockout is in store for him in this fight.

Takam has legit punching power but he doesn’t throw his punches fast enough to catch a very mobile Usyk. I expect Takam to try and bring the fight early because his best chance to win this fight is to knock Usyk out early. How Usyk defends the initial onslaught will be key because it determines how Takam is going to fight the rest of the way.

Usyk is going to use his jab and move around Takam early on. Once he softerns Takam with his body punches and slow the Frenchman down, Usyk is going to go on full offense. I’m expecting Usyk to bring the heat after six rounds, that is if Takam doesn’t fall from body blows. I’m picking Oleksandr Usyk to win this fight by knockout in the second half of the fight. Prediction: Oleksandr Usyk by knockout

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