Usyk talks preparation for heavyweight debut

Oleksandr Usyk is closing in on a heavyweight debut that he’s been preparing for since his amateur days as he faces Tyrone Spong at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday October 12, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Usyk (16-0 12 KOs) has made the move to Heavyweight after dominating at Cruiserweight, ending his spell at 200lbs as the undisputed king with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponents’ backyard against Marco Huck, Mairis Breidis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew.

The Ukrainian pound-for-pound star begins his bid to become a two-weight World ruler against Spong (14-0 13 KOs) in the Windy City, but Usyk says his rise to Heavyweight began back in his amateur days, so moving to join the big guns holds no fear for the 32 year old.

“There have been no problems in order to move to the Heavyweight division,” said Usyk. “At least to me there have been no problems. I simply moved to the Heavyweight division, and that was it. Virtually nothing has changed in my training, we’ve simply started doing even more work. Different, and hard work, which is practicing with big guys who pose a great threat.

“We’re working hard, smiling, going crazy during the training camp, and doing our job. Everyone who is in my camp does their job 100 percent meaning that they give everything so that I feel comfortable. Everything is as comfortable as possible; the food, rehab, resting, massage, training. My team is looking after all of it and we are working hard together.

“Before the Olympics, and even before the World Championships, when I was boxing at 91 kilos, we were experimentally boxing in the Heavyweight class specifically so that it would be more dangerous. I weighed in at a competition, for example, not 91 kilos but 91.5, and was boxing against the guys weighing 100-102-105, which was our objective. And it was not only I who was boxing one class up, Vasiliy Lomachenko was, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and all of those who were part of that golden Ukrainian team.

“I’m really looking forward to boxing on October 12. I very much missed the boxing. I love boxing, and really there is a lot of talk about it, but I’m not paying attention to it. My objective is to do my job in the gym in order to show all the enthusiasts and fans great boxing in the ring.”

Usyk’s Heavyweight bow against Spong is part of a huge night of action in Chicago as unified Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill defends her WBA and WBC titles against old foe Erica Farias, unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr returns to action against Morgan Fitch, Charles Conwell defends his USBA Super-Welterweight title against Patrick Day, an all-Chicago Super-Featherweight clash between Josh Hernandez and Giovanni Mioletti and a fourth pro outing for rising starlet Otha Jones III.

Photo/courtesy: Matchroom Boxing

Usyk out with injury; Haney to headline show on May 25

Devin Haney will headline on his DAZN debut against Antonio Moran on Saturday May 25 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Oleksandr Usyk was scheduled to make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam, but Usyk was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Haney (21-0 13 KOs) announced a co-promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA last week and now the Lightweight sensation will headline against Moran (24-3 17 KOs), the 26 year old who has stopped four of his last five opponents and was narrowly edged out by Jose Pedraza in June.

‘The Dream’ will be hunting World title action in the second half of 2019, sitting at number three in the WBC, five in the WBA, eight with the WBO and ten with the IBF, and the 20 year old Las Vegas ace will be looking to underline his lofty position in the rankings with a stellar showing in Maryland.

“It’s unfortunate that Oleksandr Usyk had to pull out because of injury,” said Haney. “I wish him a fast and speedy recovery. I’m very happy Matchroom and DAZN made the right choice in making me the main event.

“The MGM National Harbor will be the perfect place for me to show up and show out at. The fans in this area of the world really know boxing. I will put on a great show for them. I’m the future of this sport and on May 25 I will show the world how much I’ve grown inside the ring.”

A stacked card in support of Haney sees Chicago’s WBC World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill (6-2 3 KOs) aims to unify the division against Argentine WBA ruler Anahi Sanchez (19-3), Croatian Heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic (7-0 5 KOs) faces Gregory Corbin (15-1 9 KOs) and Las Vegas Heavyweight Michael Hunter (16-1 11 KOs) will look to continue his great run of KO wins.

“We know that Devin is a future superstar but Usyk’s unfortunate injury now gives Devin the chance to headline first time out on DAZN,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Moran will give Devin the toughest test of his career so far, last year he dropped a close decision to WBO World champ Jose Pedraza and is coming off an impressive knockout victory.

“Heavyweight action remains on the card with two top 15 ranked fighters Michael Hunter and Flip Hrgovic who are both searching for a shot at the World heavyweight title and Jessica McCaskill and Anahi Sanchez face off in an exciting World title unification. It’s going to be a great night of boxing and I expect Devin Haney to steal the show in Maryland!”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing