Newly-crowned WBO Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk will not be resting on his laurels, instead taking on South African standout Thabiso Mchunu on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. Usyk was originally slated to face unbeaten Bosnian Damir Beljo, who turned down the fight due to a lack of prep time.
Mchunu (17-2, 11 KO) returned to the ring in May, one year nearly to the day after a knockout loss to Ilunga Makabu, with a win over the awesomely-name Boniface Kabore. Two wins over Danie Venter, one over Eddie Chambers, and one over Olanrewaju Durodola anchor his résumé.
He’s a decent foe for Usyk (10-0, 9 KO), who dominated Krzysztof Glowacki in September to earn his first title, and about the best Usyk could reasonably line up on a month’s notice.
The card’s co-feature pits top prospect Joseph Diaz Jr. (22-0, 13 KO) against unheralded Horacio "Violento" Garcia (30-1-1, 22 KO), while fellow Olympian Yamaguchi Falcao (11-0, 5 KO) takes on Antonio Gutierrez (21-2-1, 9 KO) at middleweight.