Oleksandr Usyk vs Carlos Takam - Heavyweight debut set up for classy stoppage

Fighter of the Year Usyk makes the step up to the big-man division in non-title fight

Oleksandr Usyk vs Carlos Takam Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips


Undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk makes his highly-anticipated heavyweight debut on Sunday, May 26 against veteran Carlos Takam. All eyes are on the impressive Ukrainian to see how he measures up in boxing’s premier division.

What: Oleksandr Usyk vs Carlos Takam
Where: MGM National Harbor, Oxon Hill
When: Sunday, May 26, 3am BST (2am GMT)

One of the classiest operators in elite boxing begins the next chapter of his remarkable career, and it should be great spectacle. Usyk is superior to Takam in every way when it comes to boxing skill, athleticism and ring intelligence. 

Oleksandr Usyk History, Form & Boxing Style


Nationality: Ukrainian
Age: 32 (17/01/1987)
Professional record: 16-0-0 (12KOs)
Height: 6’ 3” / 190cm
Reach: 78” / 198cm
Stance: Southpaw

Oleksandr Usyk’s boxing career has been just as explosive as his fists. He made his pro debut in 2013, has fought just 16 times and captured all four cruiserweight world titles with ease. Not only did Usyk win all the belts on offer, but he did so in his opponent’s back yard each time. 

First he went to Poland to claim the WBO title from Krzysztof Glowacki, next was a trip to Latvia where he added the WBC strap by beating Mairis Briedis. He then unified the division by winning the IBF and WBA titles against Murat Gassiev in Russia.

In between, Usyk travelled to the United States to beat Michael Hunter and to Germany to take down Marco Huck. He completed his Cruiserweight mission with a devastating knockout of former champion Tony Bellew in the UK. 

In an age where fighters appear reluctant to leave their own shores, Usyk has been a breath of fresh air. His achievements in the 200lb division saw the 32-year-old Ukrainian earn a host of Fighter of the Year accolades, but now the boxing world watches on to see how he transfers his considerable skill-set to the heavyweight scene.

Usyk bellew
Oleksandr Usyk was far too goof for Tony Bellew at Manchester Arena on November 10, 2018 before being crowned Fighter of the Year (Getty Images)

Usyk is a supreme athlete which allows him to punch in volume and maintain intensity and work rate throughout a fight. He typically operates at range and his lead hand is key to everything: he uses it to jab, set up attacks and to measure. 

Usyk also possesses impeccable footwork and his mobility is one of his biggest strengths, while not forgetting his considerable power and strength. If you are looking for a complete boxer, look no further.

Usyk is a massive favourite to win on his heavyweight debut, priced around 1.06 at bet365 so we are turning to Usyk winning via stoppage in rounds 6-9 with the odds for that method of victory yet to be released.

Carlos Takam History, Form & Boxing Style


Nationality: French
Age: 38 (06/12/1980)
Professional record: 36-5-1 (28KOs)
Height: 6′ 1½″ / 187cm
Reach: 80½″ / 204cm
Stance: Orthodox

The Cameroonian-Frenchman endeared himself to British fight fans when he stepped in at 12 days notice to face Anthony Joshua in October 2017. Far from being cannon-fodder, Takam proved a tough and game opponent, taking the champion 10 rounds before the referee prematurely stepped in with Takam under pressure but not especially hurt.

The 38-year-old returned to the UK in July last year when he was stopped in the eighth round by Dereck Chisora. His only other losses at world level have come against Alexander Povetkin (a 10th round KO) and a points defeat to Joseph Parker. Takam has plenty of experience under his belt and has never been blasted out early.

Carlos Takam
Carlos Takam recorded a 7th round TKO of Senad Gashiat at London's O2 Arena on December 22, 2018 (Getty Images)

Takam is very much the fighter you expect him to be when you see his build: a come forward, aggressive and squat fighter who packs a heavy punch and likes to unload from close range. While many of his fights have gone into the latter stages, his bulk means he tends to slow, making him vulnerable during the championship rounds. 

Given his size - Takam weighed in at 254lb for his last fight, a 7th round TKO of Senad Gashi - he will be by far the heaviest fighter Usyk has come up against, although he is still a huge outsider with bet365 at 9.00.

Oleksandr Usyk vs Carlos Takam Key Statistics


  • Knockout percentage: Usyk 75% / Takam 67%
  • Fights to go the distance: Usyk 4/16 (25%) / Takam 9/42 (21.4%)

Verdict


What Takam will lack in comparative boxing skills he will look to make up in weight and one-punch power. Whether he can corner Usyk and land the big shots is another matter.

There is little reason to expect anything other than a comfortable Usyk win, but by which method is a little tougher to determine. An early stoppage would be a surprise as Usyk will likely use the opening rounds to feel his way into the fight and into heavyweight boxing. 

But as the fight progresses and his volume of punches start to take their toll on the tiring Takam, a stoppage between rounds 6-9 appears the likely outcome.

Best Bet: Oleksandr Usyk Win Rounds 6-9 @ *

* Odds have not been released
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Freetips staff 06 May 2019

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