The Most Anticipated Fight– Lebedev against Usyk

The boxing world expects another Russian-Ukrainian matchup. Three champion titles are at stake.


Before the fight with the Polish boxer Głowacki, the WBO cruiserweight world champion (up to 90.8 kg) and the participant of the most spectacular battle of the last year, the Ukrainian boxer Alexander Usyk was considered favorite; a number of bookmakers gave him odds of 2/1.


On the one hand, such a scenario was predictable to some extent. On the other, the match in Gdansk was just Usyk’s 10th fight in his professional career, in turn, Głowacki’s 27th. The Ukrainian has not managed to gain considerable experience yet, all his rivals were “cannon fodder”, and there were no top names among his victims. In the fight against Polish boxer, the Ukrainian was planning to improve drastically his opposition level. It turned into success.


Usyk vs Głowacki

Usyk vs Głowacki


Polish champion was totally crushed by Usyk, disregarding another Polish boxer’s Grzegorz Proksa statements. Even if initially Głowacki had some hope of eventual success, the first three rounds debunked and ruined it once and for all.


It is a known fact that to win on points a nimble Ukrainian, despite his impressive proportions, is almost utopia. The key to solving the problem can be power pressure and heavy knockout punch. Speed is a crucial element of applying pressure tactics effectively, as well as a good timing to land punches accurately, not in defense. During Saturday’s fight, Głowacki’s performance was critically slow and imprecise.


The Polish fighter could get close to the Ukrainian boxer only a few times, consequently, Usyk was not beaten up seriously. The judging results were pretty fair – 119-109, 117-111 and 117-111. Even Proksa scored the fight 116-114 in favor of the opponent, although he obviously gave more than he should to Głowacki.






Usyk acted in his natural manner that is considered traditional for the Ukrainian ex-lovers of the past. Klitschko brothers, Andriy Kotelnik and Sergey Dzinziruk were boxing in the same way. This style varies drastically from the one practiced by new Ukrainian golden boxing team, Lomachenko, Khytrov, Gvozdyk and Berinchyk are different type of fighters.


Vitali Klitschko, present at the fight, was satisfied with Usyk’s earlier performance, since he recognized his brother’s fighting style 10 years ago. Alexander was extremely successful with jabs, but not often used power punches – straight left and right hook. Usyk showed great footwork. Obviously, it was not a classy performance of bleak quasi-Italians Malignaggi and Algieri, but rather effective movements on the ring. When it was necessary Usyk leaned, moreover, speed supremacy was felt in the 11th round, when Ukrainian threw powerful punch combinations – 8-10.


However, Usyk demonstrated outstanding boxing intellect. Głowacki received punch series in 11th round, without blinking an eye. The fight with Huck proved that Polish boxer holds the punch, and if falls he still stands up. In his first championship fight, Usyk couldn’t take a risk, so he didn’t, but, in turn, just worked efficiently and effectively. It doesn’t mean that it always will be so. However, nobody should expect from Usyk kind of “fireworks“ or “old-fashioned” Berinchyk-style of boxing or the one demonstrated by Charles Thompson.






Becoming the world’s champion in his 10th battle on the professional ring, Usyk broke the record of Evander Holyfield, who won his WBA title in 12th fight. Certainly, it concerns only this weight category – Alexander’s friend and team-mate Vasyl Lomachenko, and the Thai boxer Muangsurin, achieved that as well – the title in three fights in all the weight classes.


Usyk became the second champion of the Ukraine’s high-class team at the beginning of 2010, that led to fantastic result at the World Championship 2011 – 5 gold medals, and the Olympic Games 2012 – 2 gold medals. On the way are such boxers as Evgeny Khytrov (14-0, 12 KO), Alexander Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KO) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (9-0, 7 KO). A little further – Taras Shelestyuk (14-0, 9 KO) and Denys Berinchyk (4-0, 3 KO). After the defeat of Viktor Postol and prior to the revenge of Fury/ Klitschko Ukraine, so far, does not have other champions. This is the shift of generations.






Głowacki was considered the second most powerful cruiserweight fighter on the planet, being preceded by Denis Lebedev after his splendid victory over Victor Ramirez. Tony Bellew was far behind. Usyk, who demolished Głowacki, got his place and status, same as the Indians took courage of the vanquished warriors, eating their hearts.  


Within the WBO division Usyk does not have real rival, since dangerous Latvian policeman Mairis Briedis is on the way to WBC. Noel Gevor? Micki Nielsen? Damir Beljo? Who are all these people?! Usyk may be interested only in the unification bout, so, the high-profile fight with Lebedev seems to be a logical outcome.


Reality is another thing. Is the fight, which will decide the world champion in this weight class, really possible? The answer depends more on the political situation, rather than on the sports content. Rivals’ strengths seem to be equal, thus, the risk of losing is very high. When one puts on the maroon beret or shows off the golden Tryzub, the political stakes and risks automatically reach their peak. Thus, one can become a symbol, and those usually don’t lose. It is highly possible that for this match to happen, first, somebody has to lose.


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