There has been a lot of talk about this considering Usyk’s desire to move up to heavyweight. And why not, cruiserweights such as Holyfield have done it in the past with great success (the only 4-time world heavyweight champion). Even light heavyweights have some historical success. Michael Spinks managed it by dethroning undefeated Larry Holmes in two fights. Michael Moorer and Ezzard Charles are two other examples.
My initial thoughts from watching Usyk’s fights are the following:
1. Skills – Usyk is quite visibly an excellent tactician, possessing a high ring IQ and moves like he’s from the lower weight classes. These are assets few possess.
2. Vulnerabilities – Usyk has looked “human” and has been in tough fights versus Breidis. He has been “touched up” by cruiserweights like Bellew, and Gassiev, as well, which is a bit of vulnerability. This works against him considering Anthony Joshua’s and Wilder’s power.
3. Weight/Size – I think this won’t be a massive issue, considering he’s 6ft 4. Many would argue he’s a natural heavyweight and has fought super heavyweights in amateurs against the likes of Joe Joyce. This also this won’t be a problem if he correctly acclimates to the weight (to 220/230lbs) in 2-3 fights before the big guns, so why not try lower skilled heavyweights, like Dillian Whyte.
4. Fury – Usyk versus Fury is an intriguing stylistic matchup–two big guys that have surprisingly fluid movement for big guys. You’d go with Fury, especially after his latest performance against Wilder.
Can Usyk beat the heavyweights? I believe he can if he fights them after 2-3 successful heavyweight fights against a credible level of opposition. It’s not that much of a bad shout due to his excellent skill set that he can cause problems with movement and his boxing ability.
Do I see an argument of him getting knocked out by the likes of Wilder/AJ? I see nothing wrong with that, that’s fine, they’re heavy punchers and natural heavyweights. Some consider them super heavyweights, especially this era.