Since Oleksandr Usyk broke into the world boxing scene, it became evident that he is a unique boxer. The Ukrainian, who will defend his Super Cruiserweight Championship of the World Boxing Association (WBA) on Saturday against Briton Tony Bellew, has become one of the best fighters in the world in just 15 professional fights.
In addition to being WBA champion, Usyk also holds the belts of all major organizations, which makes him the absolute champion of the division, and the first in the history of said weight class with all four major belts.
His career in the amateurs was outstanding, despite having started boxing at 15 years of age after having been a footballer during his childhood and the first part of his adolescence. Among the achievements in the amateurs, his highlights are the 2011 world championship and the gold medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games, both in the heavyweight class.
He turned professional in 2013 and in his tenth professional fight became the champion with the least amount of fights in the division, a record that before had been held by Evander Holyfield.
In 2017, as a solid champion, he entered the World Boxing Super Series – a competition in which he had an outstanding performance and in which he beat Marco Huck (first round), Mairis Briedis (semifinals) and until then champion of the WBA, Murat Gassiev in the final. This earned him the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy, the four most important world titles, and the prestige he has today.
Usyk has proved to be a great athlete and a man whose principles and beliefs are invulnerable.
Despite being born in the Crimea, a territory in dispute between Russia and Ukraine, in 2014 he stressed that he would not adopt Russian nationality and that he would remain with his birth name, although he has repeatedly insisted on the brotherhood of those countries, with his most recent fight taking place in Moscow, where he has many fans and loves the public.
The 31-year-old will now face Bellew, who is a character in his own right. For Usyk it will mean the first defense of his belt and his first fight as owner of the Muhammad Ali trophy, while he will try to defend his undefeated record through 15 bouts in professional boxing.