Ukranian cruiserweight powerhouse and freshly anointed WBO title holder, Oleksandr Usyk, has been scurrying to locate an opponent for the Bernard Hopkins - Joe Smith undercard this upcoming December 17th on HBO, and it appears as if he may have found a suitor in Thabiso Mchunu of South Africa.
Usyk (10-0, 9 KO) was last seen traveling to Poland in September to face undefeated rising champion Krzysztof Glowacki (26-1, 16 KO) on his home turf. With so few professional fights under his belt, many expected Usky to have trouble with the Pole, however the 2012 Olympic gold medalist tore through Glowacki on his way to a wide unanimous decision, claiming his first wold title with the WBO strap.
Being 29 and in the middle of his prime, Usyk is looking to get back into the ring as swiftly as possible, while also building a fan base worldwide with his exciting style and rising dominance within the division. Originally it appeared as if the Ukranian would be competing against Damir Beljo of Bosnia and Herzegovina, however Beljo withdrew from the fight, citing insufficient time to prepare for such a prestigious fight. This left promoter Alexander Krasyuk of K2 promotions scrambling to find a formidable opponent for Usyk come December 17th. Luckily, he was able to find just that in Mchunu (17-2, 11 KO).
"Mchunu has signed a contract to fight" Krasyuk recently told the press, confirming that his fighter would almost inevitably be making his USA debut for Bernard Hopkins' farewell fight. This is great news for Usyk, as he has the perfect style to make a splash in the states and garner a gigantic following. With many other boxers from the region such as the Klitschko's and Golovkin becoming household names due to their fan friendly styles and huge personalities, the blueprint has been laid out for him to succeed for an extended period.
The cruiserweight division has been extremely competitive for some time, however many of the champions and staples are now nearing the end of their primes. With big names such as Marco Huck, Denis Lebedev, and new WBC champion Tony Bellew in play as potential future opponents to unify titles with, it should be sooner rather than later before we see Usyk in the ring with a bigger name. If his past history has been any indication, it appears as if he will have no problem stepping up for a challenge.