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Oleksandr Usyk's Leading Contenders

Boxing has finally crowned an undisputed heavyweight champion in Oleksandr Usyk, leaving the division in a state of flux as contenders scramble to position themselves for a shot at the greatest prize in sports.

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New York, NY, USA (May 23, 2024) - Boxing has finally crowned an undisputed heavyweight champion in Oleksandr Usyk, leaving the division in a state of flux as contenders scramble to position themselves for a shot at the greatest prize in sports. With the IBF deliberating its next move, the hierarchy of challengers is more intriguing than ever. Let's take a look at the top contenders, their current status, and what the future might hold for their journeys toward the one true heavyweight crown.

Anthony Joshua knows he has a lot more to prove before getting another shot at Oleksandr Usyk.

Anthony Joshua: The Former Unified Champion

Anthony Joshua remains at the forefront of the heavyweight division's contenders, boasting an impressive resume and a significant fan base. However, Joshua's two losses to Usyk have left doubts about his ability to dethrone the Ukrainian champion. The stylistic mismatch was evident in their encounters, but Joshua's newfound aggression and confidence could potentially pave the way for another shot at glory. If Joshua can continue to build on his momentum, a third fight with Usyk might materialize, but he would need to showcase substantial improvements to turn the tide.

Tyson Fury: The Former Lineal Champion

Tyson Fury's career has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows. After an electrifying trilogy with Deontay Wilder and a dominant win over Dillian Whyte, Fury's reputation as the top heavyweight seemed secure. However, his subsequent actions, including a novelty contest and fluctuating commitment to the sport, have cast a shadow over his legacy. Fury's massive payday and the brutal defeat to Usyk have raised questions about his future. The anticipated rematch in October will be crucial, but Usyk is expected to deliver an even more definitive victory, further diminishing Fury's standing.

There's seems to be no limit to how far Germany's Agit Kabayel can go.

Agit Kabayel: The Division's Boogeyman

Agit Kabayel has emerged as a formidable force in the heavyweight division, catapulting from sleeper status to the boogeyman after decisive victories over undefeated contenders Arslanbek Makhmudov and Frank Sanchez. With a perfect record of 25-0 (17 KOs), Kabayel has caught the attention of major stakeholders, including the lucrative Saudi backers. A likely matchup against the surging Joseph Parker could solidify Kabayel's position as the top contender, and the expectation is that Kabayel will emerge victorious if such a clash occurs.

Joseph Parker: The Resilient Contender

Joseph Parker's career resurgence has been marked by significant wins over Zhilei Zhang and Deontay Wilder. Despite these achievements, there remains a sense that Parker's ceiling falls just short of the elite level occupied by Joshua and Usyk. Nonetheless, Parker's trajectory continues to rise, and a potential bout with Kabayel or another top contender represents a crucial opportunity to cement his status near the top of the world rankings.

Filip Hrgovic: The Rising Star

Filip Hrgovic is set to face Daniel Dubois on June 1st in Riyadh. A victory would likely set up a high-profile encounter with Anthony Joshua in London in September. Hrgovic's performance in these upcoming fights will be pivotal in determining his standing in the division. If he can navigate these challenges successfully, Hrgovic could find himself in line for a title shot sooner rather than later.

Deontay Wilder: The Enigmatic Power Puncher

Deontay Wilder remains one of the most polarizing figures in heavyweight boxing. Criticized for facing weaker opposition during his title reign, Wilder's stock has fluctuated following his trilogy with Fury and a lackluster loss to Parker. His upcoming bout with Zhilei Zhang on June 1st is a critical test. Both fighters are known for their power, and the outcome will provide significant insights into Wilder's future prospects. A decisive win could reignite his career, while a loss might signal the end of his time in professional boxing.

Zhilei Zhang: The Chinese Powerhouse

Zhilei Zhang's impressive knockout of Joe Joyce last year elevated his profile even further than his previous stoppage of the tough Londoner, but his recent decision loss to Parker exposed vulnerabilities. Zhang's clash with Wilder represents a crossroads moment. While a victory could rejuvenate his career, a defeat would likely confirm his decline. Regardless, Zhang's performance against Wilder will be a key indicator of his future as a top level contender.

Joe Joyce: The Determined Warrior

Joe Joyce's journey has been marked by resilience and determination. Despite being written off by many, Joyce's stoppage of Daniel Dubois proved his mettle. His upcoming fight with Derek Chisora at the O2 Arena is another chance for Joyce to demonstrate his durability. A win over Chisora won't necessarily signal a return to the top, but it will keep Joyce in the mix and allow him to continue his pursuit of higher-profile opportunities.

Daniel Dubois: The Tenacious Youngster

Daniel Dubois has shown remarkable tenacity in his career, consistently taking on tough competition. His upcoming bout with Hrgovic on June 1st is a significant test. While Dubois is expected to struggle against the Croatian, his ability to overachieve has been evident in the past. A victory would propel him into contention for a mega clash with Anthony Joshua, potentially setting the stage for an unexpected ascent to the top.

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