Oleksandr Usyk's long-awaited heavyweight debut has been announced and is set to take place next month.
In the main event of a Matchroom Boxing USA card from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25, Usyk will face former title challenger Carlos Takam. The fight will be streamed on DAZN in the United States.
The fight marks Usyk's first step into the heavyweight ranks after spending the second half of 2018 and the first few months of 2019 as the undisputed cruiserweight champion. Usyk won the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament with a dominant 12-round decision against Murat Gassiev in the tournament finals last year. Usyk, the first man to hold the WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight titles at the same time, last fought in November when he knocked out Tony Bellew in Manchester, England.
Since that win over Bellew, Usyk set his sights on a move up to heavyweight and his debut at the sport's biggest weight class was expected for some time. The last few weeks have served as Usyk's exit from cruiserweight as he vacated his WBA title one day before a purse bid with mandatory challenger Denis Lebedev. Usyk is still officially listed as the WBO, WBC and IBF cruiserweight champions, but his reign as champion for those respective organizations is expected to end soon as well.
Takam once challenged for Anthony Joshua's WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles back in 2017, but was unsuccessful, losing to Joshua via 10th-round stoppage. Takam would go on to lose another fight before bouncing back with a win over Senad Gashi last December.