June 6, 2024

Oleksandr Usyk has stepped in with Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, but neither gave him his heaviest knock.

Usyk is the current reigning undisputed heavyweight champion after making history with a decision win over Fury in Saudi Arabia.

Usyk edged Fury in a gruelling and brutal encounter

Usyk edged Fury in a gruelling and brutal encounterCredit: Getty

It was a monumental achievement to hand Fury his first defeat, and adds on to his back-to-back wins over Anthony Joshua in 2021 and 2022.

The Ukrainian has also been in with two other Britons in the shape of Daniel Dubois and Derek Chisora, but he believes the latter packed the most power he has faced.

Usyk responded on the Three Knockdown Rule podcast when asked who was his toughest and hardest hitting opponent: “Toughest fight – yes it was [Fury].

“Biggest punch – no. Because Derek Chisora, very tough guy.

Oleksandr Usyk teammate headbutted by John Fury ‘gets the last laugh’

“[One punch landed] on the gloves and I said, ‘Oh my God.’ Like a baseball bat.”

Chisora was Usyk’s second test in the blue-riband division, after he stepped up and vacated his status as undisputed champion at cruiserweight.

‘WAR’ put up a brave fight against Usyk, and even looked on top in earlier parts of the fight, using his relentless work rate and body shots to rough up the champion.

This outing led to many doubts over the Ukrainian’s size at heavyweight, but those concerns have been proven complete fiction.

Usyk was too good for Joshua in both clashes

Usyk was too good for Joshua in both clashesCredit: Matchroom
Usyk had admitted he struggled with Chisora's thumping power

Usyk had admitted he struggled with Chisora’s thumping powerCredit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

He has become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999, and has dismantled some elite fighters in the process.

Now, an immediate rematch lays in wait on December 21, where Usyk will look to preserve his undisputed status.

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But it is expected he will be stripped of his IBF belt before that date, despite filing an ‘exemption’ to the rule through his team.

Usyk did find himself under the pressure in the sixth round of their maiden encounter, after Fury landed a huge uppercut.

He was able to reverse momentum, but has now admitted it was a moment of real adversity.

The 37-year-old continued: “When I get the uppercut it was very pain.

“I feel for maybe ten seconds and say, ‘Hey God, thank you, help me.’ I say to myself, ‘Move. Move because if you stop he’ll kill you.’

“I respect Fury because he’s a great fighter, great man, very smart. What Tyson does, ‘Blah, blah, blah.’

“A lot of people say he’s a clown. It’s playing. Not me, but maybe a different opponent who doesn’t have tunnel vision.”

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