Oleksandr Usyk’s second decisive victory over former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 11 months clarified that Usyk is indeed one of the best fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world. Usyk is an Olympic gold medalist and was the undisputed cruiserweight champion.
Joshua held three of the four heavyweight belts before running into the Usyk Express. Usyk’s boxing is magnificent and he proved by taking Joshua’s best in the ninth round Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and then coming out and sweeping the final three rounds that he’s as tough as there is in boxing.
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He was previously seventh on Yahoo Sports’ list. I knew I was going to move him up, but the question was, how much up the list would he go? I considered him as No. 1 given his record of him and the significance of his wins from him.
But boxing has a slew of elite talents, and I had Terence Crawford first and Naoya Inoue second. I couldn’t slot Usyk ahead of those two. But it made sense to put him ahead of Canelo Alvarez into the third spot.
That puts him two spots ahead of Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, whom I have at five. That’s not saying Usyk defeats Fury if and when they fight; Fury would deserve to be the favorite, were they to meet.
But Usyk gives up more than 50 pounds to Fury and I had to ask myself, “If they were the same size and same weight, who would win?” When I answered that question, Usyk, I had no hesitation putting him third.
If he fights — and defeats — Fury, he’ll clearly be No. 1.
For now, he’s third and one of the most amazing fighters in the world.
Boxing pound-for-pound rankings as of Aug. 22
1. Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs), WBO welterweight champion. Previous Ranking: 1
2. Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs), IBF-WBA-WBC bantamweight champion. PR: 2
3. Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), IBF-WBA-WBO heavyweight champion. PR: 7
4. Canelo Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs), Undisputed super middleweight champion. PR: 3
5. Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KOs), IBF-WBA-WBC welterweight champion. PR: 4
6. Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs), WBC heavyweight champion. PR: 5
7. Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), WBO super featherweight champion. PR: 6
8. Gervonta Davis, (27-0, 25 KOs), WBA lightweight champion. PR: 8
9. Vasiliy Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs), lightweight contender. PR: 9
10. Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), WBA light heavyweight champion. PR: 10