This Saturday on Sky Sports (UK) and Polsat Sport PPV (Poland), Krzysztof Głowacki will defend his WBO cruiserweight title against top propsect Oleksandr Usyk in Poland.
We’ll have live coverage on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a look at what is really the true fight of this coming weekend.
Krzysztof Głowacki vs Oleksandr Usyk
Record: 26-0 (16 KO) ... Streak: W26 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 6’0" / 75" ... Age: 30
Thoughts: Głowacki sort of stormed onto the scene in 2015, when he faced Marco Huck in an August edition of PBC on Spike. It was his first fight in the United States after spending his entire career in Poland beforehand.
Huck led 96-93, 96-93, and 95-94 going into the 11th round. And then Głowacki thrashed him, dropping him hard twice for the knockout rally. It was an inspired win in a very good fight, but there remained something to prove when Głowacki faced Steve Cunningham in April of this year.
The Pole got the win that night, too, putting Cunningham down four times overall en route to a decision victory. Cunningham, as always, was vulnerable but valiant, and other than the knockdowns made a good fight of it, with Głowacki winning seven rounds to five on two cards, and eight to four on the third.
Głowacki is the more proven of these two fighters, thanks entirely to those two wins. otherwise, his first 24 fights weren’t different than Usyk’s first nine have been. Głowacki will be giving up height and reach here, but he’s also going to have home field advantage at Ergo Arena in Gdansk.
Record: 9-0 (9 KO) ... Streak: W9 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 9-0 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 6’3" / 78" ... Age: 29
Thoughts: Usyk, who won gold at the London Olympics as a heavyweight (201 lbs) representing Ukraine, has the look of a fighter who could flat-out rule his division for a good while.
Like countryman Vasyl Lomachenko, he came into the pro game with skills that were fully developed. He wasn’t quite the amateur Lomachenko was — who is? — but he won European gold in 2008 (as a light heavyweight), World Amateur gold in 2011, and then the Olympic gold in 2012. He’s tall and rangy, and will have physical advantages on Głowacki. At the 2011 Worlds, he defeated Artur Beterbiev and Teymud Mammadov, and in London beat Beterbiev, Tervel Pulev, and Clemente Russo, the Italian veteran who had beaten him in Beijing back in 2008.
This is a tremendously skilled fighter, a hard and accurate puncher, and a guy who seems to eat, sleep, and breathe his profession. As a professional, he has been trouncing his opposition since turning pro in September 2013.
But that opposition doesn’t hold a candle to Głowacki, either, and this will be a big step up. We’ve certainly seen similar matchups that went cockeyed. One that springs to mind quickly came in this same division in 2013, when 2008 gold medalist Rakhim Chakhkiev faced Krzysztof Włodarczyk and was stopped in the eighth round. Usyk is even facing a Pole named Krzysztof in this fight. The parallels are worrisome if you believe in weird nonsense.
So far, there’s really been nothing to dislike about Usyk’s game. But "so far" only means so much, too. The real test comes in this fight.
Matchup Grade: B+.