By Steve Kim
By winning the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight title this past weekend in Russia against the hard-hitting Murat Gassiev, not only did Oleksandr Usyk capture the Muhammad Ali Trophy he also became the undisputed cruiserweight champion - by uniting the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF titles.
He also stamped his entry into a very elite class of boxing.
"With a victory like that, I think you have to put Usyk at the very top of boxing's elite, same conversation as 'Triple G '(Gennady Golovkin), same conversation as (Vasyl) Lomachenko, (Terence) Crawford, anyone you consider the best in boxing, right now," said Tom Loeffler, who started K2 Promotions in 2004 with Vitaly and Wladmir Klitschko. Usyk is with the sister company, K2 Ukraine, which has Alexander Krassyuk, as their managing director.
Loeffer continued - "The victories that Usyk had not only in the tournament, before that and then his masterful performance against a world champion like Gassive just puts him right up there. So that opens up the doors for a lot of different options. Whether he wants to come back in the States on HBO, whether he wants to fight Tony Bellew in the UK. Usyk now is the guy - the only undisputed male champion in boxing, besides Cecilia Braekhus the only undisputed champion in the whole sport of boxing. He's accomplished in one tournament what 'we tried to accomplish with 'Triple G' over the last six years.
"So we have a lot of respect for what he accomplished and now comes the fruits of all his hard work. He can now defend all those titles and he made a lot of money in the (World Boxing) Super Series and now he can build on that and make some title defenses and just raise his whole profile even higher."
In the past, the likes of Evander Holyfield (who is the only other undisputed cruiserweight champion in boxing history) moved up to the riches of the heavyweight division. When asked if he felt Usyk would move up sooner rather than later, Loeffler stated:
"I think it depends on if he really want to do the Bellew fight. If Tony wants to fight at heavyweight since he had so much success against David Haye at heavyweight I'm sure Usyk would go up and fight him at heavyweight. Otherwise if Tony wants to challenge for all his cruiserweight titles then they could do that fight at cruiserweight."
Usyk-Bellew would be a big fight in England at the present moment.
"That seems to be right now the most commercially viable fight for him," opined Loeffler.
"If they can't agree on terms, again, (Usyk) can come to the States and fight on HBO and just build on his great victory that he just had in Moscow."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.