By Steve Kim Updated on May 20, 2024

Usyk the Undisputed (Again)

By defeating Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk did more than just capture the undisputed heavyweight title of the world. He solidified his place among the best of this era. Only Terence Crawford, Naoya Inoue, and now Usyk have earned undisputed claims in two separate weight classes in this generation. 

Right now, it's those three -- and then everyone else in boxing. They have lapped the rest of the field. 

While other boxers fighting for belts, these guys are fighting for immortality.  The mythical pound-for-pound list should only consist of this trio. Put them in any order, it really doesn't matter to me. You can debate all you want, I choose to appreciate this generation's "Lethal Weapon 3''

Picture for Usyk the Undisputed (Again)

After a good start at the Kingdom Arena, Usyk found himself getting into some deep waters in the middle rounds. Fury, who is six inches taller, and 39 pounds heavier, had steadied himself after a slow start. 'The Gypsy King' controlled things on the outside, and started to land some well placed body blows. Fury also mixed in some right uppercuts. By the beginning of round eight, it seemed inevitable that Usyk would be worn down by the bigger man. The 'rabbit' as Fury had derisively called Usyk, was getting hunted down.

But then the rabbit got the gun. 

While much of the attention will focus on the memorable ninth frame, it was really the round before where Usyk began his rally. He struck Fury with a series of hard shots that bloodied his nose and caused swelling underneath his right eye. It was a subtle but significant shift in the bout. Not only had Usyk stemmed the tide, he buzzed Fury.

Picture for Usyk the Undisputed (Again)Mikey Williams/Top Rank

He did much more than that in the following round. Usyk landed a lightning bolt left hand over the top that shook Fury, and had him stumbling around the ring as he was battered about by Usyk. There were a few times that referee, Mark Nelson, could've called a knockdown as the ropes held Fury up. Some will argue that the bout should've been waved off.  It wasn't till the very end of the round that Nelson ruled a knockdown. 

Once again, as he did in the rematch with Anthony Joshua in the 10th round, and the final round against Mairis Briedis, Usyk came up big when necessary. You can argue whether there is such a thing as a 'clutch gene' in sports, but it's clear that one of the intangibles Usyk has is the innate ability to understand when he needs to reach down and find something extra.

Picture for Usyk the Undisputed (Again)

The final three rounds saw two fatigued men do their best to trudge their way to the finish line. When it was all said and done, Usyk won a hard-fought split decision by the scores of 114-113, 113-114 and 115-112. It was well-deserved. 

Bigger was not better on this night in Saudi Arabia.

“I believe I won that fight. I believe he won a few of the rounds. I thought I won a majority of them, and I believe it was a — what can you do — these are the decisions in boxing," said Fury (34-1-1, 24 KOs), who suffered his first professional defeat. "We both put on a good fight, the best we could do. And, you know, his country is at war, so people are siding with the country at war. But, make no mistake, I won that fight, in my opinion, and I’ll be back! I got a rematch clause.”

Picture for Usyk the Undisputed (Again)

There is a rematch clause for this bout and Fury made it clear his intention to enforce it. Specifically he said,“We go back, have a little rest up, spend some time with our families, and get it back on in October.”

To which Usyk responded, "Yes, of course. Rematch, I am ready!”

For now, he is the undisputed heavyweight champion. Not bad for a blown-up middleweight. 



- As for Usyk's historical standing, he is certainly on the Mt. Rushmore of cruiserweights. Really, it's basically him and Evander Holyfield, who are considered the greats in that weight class(which was created in 1980). And now with victories against Joshua(twice) and Fury, Usyk is now among the very best heavyweights of this generation.

Picture for Usyk the Undisputed (Again)

On top of that, many pundits and observers have him number one pound-for-pound. 

So with all that, he makes a strong case for being an all-time great.

- Is any manager having the year that Egis Klimas is? Not only does he guide the career of Usyk, but also Vasiliy Lomachenko, who had a big victory last week to capture the IBF lightweight title by stopping George Kambosos in 11 rounds. Currently he has four world champions (Usyk, Lomachenko, Janibek Alimkhanuly and Bakhram Murtazaliev), and the word is that he and partner, Jose De La Cruz, have some other big plans ahead of them.

Right now, Klimas is the runaway leader for the 2024 'Manager of the Year'.

Picture for Usyk the Undisputed (Again)

- Meanwhile in San Diego, it was a night of upsets. First, Brian Norman scored a 10th round stoppage of Giovanni Santillan for the WBO interim welterweight title. Then in the main event, Denys Baranchyk out-pointed Emanuel Navarrete over 12 rounds to capture the vacant WBO lightweight crown. Navarrete has never been poetry in motion inside the ring, but it seems like his ability to overpower his foes despite his technical flaws have hit a wall at 135.

About Author
Usyk the Undisputed (Again)
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.