Aftermath: Usyk vs Gassiev
Craig Scott, Shaun Brown, Luke Byron, Andrew Harrison, James Oddy, Callum Rudge, Lee Gormley and Colin Harris from the Boxing Monthly online team react to Oleksandr Usyk's masterful victory against Murat Gassiev in Moscow to unify the cruiserweight world championship and win the World Boxing Super Series...
BM: How did you see / score the fight?
CS: A complete shut-out. Usyk totally nullified Gassiev throughout the 'contest' which, barring a few big single shots, may not be the best word to describe the highly-anticipated final. Usyk is a special, special talent. Particularly telling was Gassiev's moody schoolboy look, trudging back to his corner after every round. Unbelievable.
SB: A shut-out for Usyk, 120-108. I thought he would get an early lead but never expected Gassiev to be so lacking in ideas at the halfway point. Everything about Usyk tonight was at the top of its game. It was a masterclass. One of the performances of the year. The greatest cruiserweight of all-time in my opinion.
LB: I scored it a complete shutout. Gassiev looked like he never had any intention of winning a 12-round fight and instead looked to slow Usyk with body shots early and presumably take him out late on. As soon as he realised that Usyk wasn’t slowing at all, he looked to completely give up. Abel Sanchez wasn’t much help in the corner, but in truth I don’t know what more he could have done.
AH: Usyk won every round. Even when Gassiev managed to land a big shot or two, Usyk trumped him on workrate. The Russian spent far too long following Usyk around, rather than cutting off the ring and Usyk controlled him masterfully behind his jab.
JO: It was a shut out for Usyk. He didn't lose a round on my card. Gassiev was made to look very basic, which he isn't. It highlights just how good Usyk is.
CR: 120-108 - a complete shut out. Usyk came out with intent from the opening bell, completely outworking and outboxing the Russian. It was one of the easiest fights you’ll ever score. Usyk was on another level.
LG: It was billed as a 50-50 final but Usyk turned it into an absolute masterclass right from the beginning. To completely outclass a fellow unified world champion in that manner and on such a massive stage shows just how great he really is. Usyk took the fight away from Gassiev and completely demoralised him, with Abel Sanchez having to try and keep his man encouraged after each round. Due to Gassiev's devastating power, it was still intriguing right up to the final bell, but he never truly got close to Usyk throughout. His footwork and movement were incredible for a cruiserweight. It was like watching a 200lbs Lomachenko at times. A pleasure to watch. I scored it 119-109 and even that was generous to Gassiev!
CH: Usyk dominated, controlled, had an answer for everything, and won decisively. Gassiev looked like he was well out of his depth, and had a look of a 'bully who's been found lacking' as he trudged back to his corner, resigned to taking a drubbing and taking solace from lasting the distance.
BM: In the last BM P4P rankings Usyk landed at number eight. After tonight where should he figure?
CS: I think he has to be top three. Obviously he's had less fights than guys like Golovkin, but there's an argument that his performances in the WBSS surpass any of Golovkin's biggest nights. I'd stick Crawford and Usyk's little compatriot Lomachenko above him only.
SB: I would have him at two behind Lomachenko and ahead of Crawford. Having him lower in the top ten is unfair on a fighter so dominant and so complete in a division of animals.
LB: I’d now place him in 4th place behind Loma, Crawford and GGG.
AH: He belongs with Lomachenko and Crawford. He's one of the best fighters in boxing.
JO: I'd say top four, it'll depend to an extent on the result of Golovkin vs Canelo.
CR: Having a look at my personal list, I would probably put him at number 4 behind Crawford, Lomachenko and Golovkin. But I would not argue if you wanted to put him higher than that. He really is a revelation and has cleaned out the toughest division in the sport.
LG: After such a dominant performance in what was the biggest fight of his career so far, Usyk should probably be in the top three in any pound-for-pound lists. Lomachenko is the best boxer in the world hands down, while Terence Crawford's achievements likely see him at second. Usyk should be vying with Gennady Golovkin for third spot, at best, after becoming the undisputed cruiserweight kingpin.
CH: Top ten? definitely. Top five? I'd be be surprised if anyone doesn't have him there. Top three? No.
BM: Usyk at heavyweight - serious prospect or unrealistic pipe dream?
CS: Serious prospect. Definitely. His output is incredible, his movement is fantastic and he can take a shot (at cruiserweight, admittedly).
SB: Usyk to heavyweight is the only way forward now. Remember how he performed at super heavy in the WSB? He is a legitimate threat to Anthony Joshua and the rest. How he is matched will be of great interest. Will he go in against Bellew or a Jennings or go big early against someone like Pulev before tackling the champions? Fascinating whichever way it goes.
LB: Definitely a serious prospect and, with the state of some of the top ten and how difficult it is to become unified in this era of boxing, I can definitely see him picking up a belt. I think he may have to plant his feet a little more to ensure the upper echelons don’t feel they can walk through him, but his footwork alone should get him to that level.
AH: Usyk weighs 200lbs - only a stone lighter than Deontay Wilder. He beat giants such as Joe Joyce and Magomedrasul Medzhidov when he fought in the WSB, so he'll be a factor at heavyweight, I'm sure.
JO: He's a serious prospect. He's a better boxer than anyone at heavyweight, and I think the size difference isn't as big an issue as people claim. Bellew vs Usyk at heavyweight would be fun, although I don't see it happening.
CR: He is a very real prospect and you would not rule him out versus anyone. The key to his success is his workrate and movement. If he can put on 10-20lbs and maintain both of those, he’s a problem for anyone, including Joshua or Wilder.
LG: Usyk at heavyweight is an interesting move. His punch output and movement would cause any of the 'lesser' fighters in the division plenty of problems. Whether he can carry all his attributes up another weight and if he can take a serious shot from a fully fledged heavyweight are concerns, though he did take a huge counter right hand from Gassiev very well in the fifth round. Based on his ability to nullify Gassiev over the distance, a devastating power puncher, I wouldn't back against him earning success higher up. Following a few bouts to get used to the division, he could become a genuine threat. Usyk and Lomachenko are relentlessly chasing greatness and aren't afraid to take on these massive challenges, so watch this space.
CH: He needs a couple of fights to test the waters. If he beat a genuine top-20'er and then followed it up by beating a kosher top-ten fighter we'd have had a chance to see how the extra mass would change him (the same way Holyfield moved up to heavyweight in a scientific way, as opposed to just cutting less weight). If he can add a couple of stone without losing or diminishing the attributes which have taken him to undisputed cruiserweight glory, then he's a serious threat to both Joshua and Wilder.