10. Derek Chisora, UD 12 (September 2020)

There are unquestionably performances slicker and more convincing than his victory over Chisora that could have made the top 10. However, with Chisora on something of a roll – he’d knocked out David Price and Artur Szpilka in his previous two contests – it’s worthy of inclusion when one considers it was Usyk’s first real test at heavyweight.

Outweighed by 38lbs, the Ukrainian found the going tough – specifically the incessant winging pressure that Chisora had long made his speciality. As always, though, Usyk soon found his groove to outfox the bigger man. 

Two judges scoring this 115-113 (the other score was 117-112) created an illusion of a close fight that Team Chisora have dined out on ever since but no matter; with hindsight, this was the perfect introduction to the land of the giants.

9. Marco Huck, TKO 10 (September 9, 2017)

Huck had seen better days by the time he encountered the wizardry of Usyk but remained a stubborn and capable operator at cruiserweight. Further, he had home advantage while challenging for the WBO title in the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin in a bout that doubled up as the quarter-final tie in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).

Usyk was in control, pretty much throughout. Huck – known to bend the rules to breaking point – grew more and more frustrated as the contest developed and was penalised in round eight for hitting Usyk after he slipped to the canvas.

The end came in the 10th when Usyk, who had seemingly decided to put an end to proceedings, launched a furious two-fisted attack that persuaded referee Robert Byrd that enough was enough.

8. Daniel Dubois, KO 9 (August 26, 2023)

By then the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight boss, Usyk took care of one of his mandatories when he halted the hard-hitting Dubois, the owner of the WBA’s wholly bogus “regular” strap, in nine rounds.

The talking point came in round five when the English challenger hurled a powerful, arcing blow towards Usyk’s stomach that landed, marginally below the legal zone, with an audible thud. The champion went down, in clear discomfort, and upon realizing the blow had been ruled out he took his sweet time to get to his feet (as was his right).

When the action resumed, so did Usyk’s control of it. By the eighth Dubois was exhausted and out of ideas when he was suddenly dropped. He went down a second time in the ninth, and with his heart broken beyond repair, he took the full count while on one knee.

7. Krzysztof Glowacki, UD 12 (September 17, 2016)

Glowacki was 26-0 and the WBO cruiserweight champion when he invited Usyk, only 9-0, to his Polish backyard. 

Usyk boxed beautifully for large portions of the bout to bewitch a capable belt-holder who remained a contender in the division for several years after this unanimous points defeat. In victory, Usyk claimed his first professional world title. 

The veteran British judge Mickey Vann reported, after scoring this one 117-111, that Usyk would one day become a world heavyweight champion. “Even now,” he told me, “he’d be a real handful for Anthony Joshua.”

6. Tony Bellew, TKO 8 (November 10, 2018) 

After winning all the belts at cruiserweight there was time for one defence as undisputed king before marching on to heavyweight. Greeting Usyk was Tony Bellew, who had enjoyed a recent excursion to the banner division himself when he twice halted David Haye in bouts north of 200lbs.

Back at cruiserweight, where he’d held and relinquished the WBC title, the Scouser was confident of scoring an upset in nearby Manchester as Usyk yet again merrily ventured into his opponent’s homeland.

Bellew boxed excellently early on – so much so that after six rounds Bellew was up on two cards (59-55 and 58-57); the third read 57-57. By then, however, Usyk was easing into his customary comeback and Bellew, ignoring the advice of coach Dave Coldwell to slow down and take stock in the seventh, was suddenly careless as he tried too hard to regain that illusion of control.

The subsequent knockout in the eighth remains one of Usyk’s most cinematic finishes.

5. Murat Gassiev, UD 12 (July 21, 2018)

Russia’s Gassiev, the WBA and IBF champion who could boast a record of 26-0 was deemed a threat to Usyk in this WBSS final that took place in – you guessed it – Russia.

In the end, Usyk made such easy work of this 12-rounder that there was a feeling of anti-climax long before the scores of 120-108 and 119-109 (twice) were announced. 

The only rounds in which Usyk’s superiority was doubted by the judges was the second and fourth. Yet, on reflection, giving Gassiev anything at all was likely being too generous.

This may well have been the best of Usyk, a fight in which he made his closest rival look levels below and a move to heavyweight all but inevitable.

3. Mairis Briedis, MD 12 (January 27, 2018)

This remains one of the most competitive fights of Usyk’s entire career. Which represents the highest of compliments for Mairis Briedis – yet another accomplished boxer to have his unbeaten record ruined in front of his home fans.

Briedis fought on even terms with Usyk – who seemed to lose his way after an accidental head clash – for long enough for this humdinger to be in the balance throughout. And in the 12th round, those final stages when Usyk is ordinarily putting the finishing touches on victory, Briedis pinned the favourite on the ropes and seemed to hurt him with a right hand.

Overall, however, Usyk had done just enough to get the majority verdict (114-114 and two scores of 115-113) and, in coming through a difficult night against a well-matched adversary, ticked another box in his quest for greatness.

“These are the most difficult rounds I’ve had in my career,” he said afterwards. “We will work on the improvement of my style.”

3. Anthony Joshua, UD 12 (September 25, 2021)

One could make a valid argument that this victory, Usyk’s first over Joshua, should top this list instead of floundering down in third place. 

The reasoning here is that it was all just a little too easy for the Ukrainian. Though an underdog going in, Usyk bossed from the first round to the last – a session in which Joshua looked on the brink of being stopped. Furthermore, Joshua second guessed his approach throughout while never once gambling on his vaunted power or advantages in size and strength.

The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion had fleeting moments of success behind his jab but only judge Viktor Fesechko’s card (117-112 in Usyk’s favour) came close to telling the right story. The other tallies, 116-112 and 115-113, seemed too kind to Joshua.

But this was a mesmeric exhibition of skill and class from Usyk, who raided with purpose on the inside and countered effectively from range. Throughout, his balletic feet moved in perfect time.

As per, he fought away from home as he wowed 67,000 fans inside London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

2. Anthony Joshua, SD 12 (August 20, 2022)

A better Joshua made for a better fight in the rematch and thus demanded that Usyk find a new gear to prevail. 

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Usyk had largely managed to contain Joshua through the first seven rounds but the Englishman, boxing intelligently with measured aggression, was in the fight, doing enough to nick some of them. A left to the body got Usyk’s attention in the eighth and then came the ninth. It remains one of the most uncomfortable three-minute spells that Usyk has endured in the professional code. 

An early left hook unsettled the champion before another seemed to make Usyk stumble slightly. A weighty blow sank into his stomach, another left hook and right uppercut landed, and, suddenly, the big favourite seemed on the brink of big trouble.

It was short-lived, however. Usyk was seen talking to himself before the 10th, a round in which he took the fight to the bigger man and had him clinging on following a series of hurtful blasts. 

At the end, one judge liked Joshua by 115-113 but justice was served by the other two, who scored 116-112 and 115-113 for Usyk. 

1. Tyson Fury, SD 12 (May 18, 2024)

Even though we all knew that Usyk had crafted a winner’s reputation by riding out difficult spells and plotting recoveries while in the thick of danger, it seemed different this time. At the end of round seven, arguably the third in a row in which Tyson Fury had made Usyk miss while punishing him upstairs and down, it was exceptionally difficult to envision anything other than more of the same in the eighth. 

Not only a colossal presence at 6ft 9ins but also quick, clever and agile, Fury can both jab with authority to keep things long and manufacture power from short chopping blows. This mountain was not for the scaling, it seemed.

Then Usyk, somehow, did what he always does. After several rounds in which he’d been forced back, forced to hold, forced to survive, he tweaked his attacks and scored with a looping left hand that seemed to break Fury’s nose on impact.

Into the ninth and the pressure on the taller man intensified. Usyk, who seemed to be growing taller with each passing second, now couldn’t miss. Fury tottered around the ring in the most unbecoming way, bouncing along the ropes like a moth at a lightbulb convention.

The referee, after watching those ropes stop Fury from falling on several occasions, suddenly stepped in to issue a count. The break, and then the bell, saved Fury from a stoppage defeat. Fury somehow regained his senses in the next round but was never again in the ascendancy.

A performance from Usyk, six inches shorter and almost 40lbs lighter, that will be remembered alongside the greatest in history.

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