Oleksandr Usyk: Undisputed Champion of the World

Figure 1 Usyk can now claim to have beaten the best

For the first time in 24 years, it has finally happened. We now have an undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk defeated Tyson Fury to become the first fighter ever to hold all four belts in the most prestigious boxing weight division of them all.

Usyk may not have the same kind of media-friendly profile as some of his contemporaries – or even many of the top fighters that have come before him. But he has consistently proved how devastating he is in the ring and lets his fists do the talking for him. He is sure to now become the most favored fighter when it comes to all the top boxing betting markets.

As Usyk is not as much of a showman as many boxers, the wider general public doesn’t know as much about him. In recognition of his remarkable achievement and his new status as arguably the best boxer on the planet, we thought we would take a look at the man, his life, his career, and just how much money he now makes from his fights.

Early Life

Oleksandr Usyk was born on 17th January 1987, in Simferopol in Ukraine, which at the time was still part of the Soviet Union. His parents were from the north of the country, with his mother moving to the city to study and eventually meeting Usyk’s father who was working as a security guard.

Usyk played football until the age of 15 and was with the academy of the local club but started to concentrate on boxing at the beginning of the 2000s. He has since signed a short contract with a Ukrainian Premier League team and intends to revert back to football after he retires from boxing.

Journey to the Top

Usyk represented his country as an amateur and found his first success at the 2006 European Championships where he won a bronze medal at middleweight. Two years later he had moved up to light heavyweight and claimed the gold medal.

He continued to put on weight the next year and by the time of the 2009 World Championships he was a heavyweight. He won another bronze at that tournament and then achieved gold two years later. He ultimately won heavyweight gold at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and retired as an amateur with a record of 335-15.

Usyk turned professional in 2013 and signed with the Klitschko brothers – also from Ukraine – promotions company. At this point he was fighting at cruiserweight level and won his first title, the interim WBO Inter-Continental, in 2014. He went on to defend that interim title on four occasions over the next year and beat Krzysztof Glowacki of Poland in 2016 to claim the WBO Cruiserweight belt.

Memorable Moments

Usyk went on to dominate the cruiserweight division over the next four years and, deciding that he needed to test himself further, he made the risky decision to move up to heavyweight where he would inevitably meet bigger and taller fighters.

Usyk won his first heavyweight contest in 2019 and was the WBO Inter-Continental champion by the end of 2020 after defeating British fighter Derek Chisora in his hometown of London. A year later, Usyk would return to the English capital to record the biggest upset of his career at that point.

Anthony Joshua was the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion and put his belts on the line to fight Usyk. The Ukrainian was not expected to be able to deal with Joshua’s power and size but ended up winning by a unanimous decision. A rematch was immediately announced and, although Joshua did perform better in that fight in Saudi Arabia, Usyk retained his titles, winning by a split decision.

For his next defense a year later, Usyk would face yet another British boxer, the highly-rated Daniel Dubois. In a controversial fight in which Dubois was accused of landing a low blow, Usyk ultimately prevailed, knocking out the challenger in the ninth round. It was then that the potential for a unifying fight between Usyk and Tyson Fury was proposed.

The initial date for the bout had to be postponed after Tyson Fury suffered a bad cut in training. But on 18th May 2024, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the two finally met with Usyk winning by a split decision. He had knocked Fury down in the ninth but both boxers completed the full 12 rounds. Oleksandr Usyk was now the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the first to achieve that accolade in the four-belt era, and the first unified champion in 24 years.

Net Worth

Now that Usyk is the undisputed champion, it is very likely that his wealth will increase at quite a rate. Before the fight with Fury, Usyk’s estimated net worth was around $50 million. His purse for fights leapt from around $2.3 million when he fought Chisora to $75 million for the rematch against Joshua.

Curiously, for the fight against Fury, Usyk was set to earn a guaranteed $45 million while the British fighter stood to take home $100 million. Those figures may well be reversed for the inevitable rematch. That prize money adds to the money coming in from deals and endorsements and the many business ventures Usyk is involved with outside the ring.

Figure 2 Usyk proudly fights under the Ukrainian flag


Oleksandr Usyk will now undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest-ever heavyweight boxers. His achievement in unifying the division – and being the first to do so in the four-belt era – will be remembered for many years. The fact that he has been talked down throughout his career and come through to beat everyone shows that he is an extremely talented fighter.

No matter what happens from now on, Usyk can claim to be a legend of the sport, possibly the best Ukrainian boxer ever, and (for now, at least) the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

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