Boxing News: Oleksandr Usyk’s most devastating defeat – 15 years ago – has been exposed, but the Ukrainian great has since reigned supreme ahead of his battle against Anthony Joshua.
The most devastating defeat suffered by Oleksandr Usyk came at the hands of a Russian middleweight, and it hasn’t been duplicated in 15 years.
In preparation for Saturday’s world heavyweight title battle against Usyk, the incredibly skilful Ukrainian who has forgotten how to lose, Anthony Joshua has mentally exhausted himself.
On Usyk’s amateur record, a stoppage loss stands out as rare proof that a boxing wizard can be tamed.
Matvey Korobov, a brilliant middleweight in Russia’s formidable amateur squad, recalls, “He was kind of the underdog, I was the favourite.”
Usyk will mesmerise every opponent en route to Olympic gold in London 2012, but a little-known talent had been torn up by a vicious champion six years prior.
Was Korobov familiar with Usyk?
“I don’t believe so.”
“We were both going to international events in different countries, but I had never seen him before.”
Stephen Smith, a Commonwealth gold medalist, competed in the European Boxing Championships in Bulgaria in July 2006.
“I recall Korobov,” Smith remarked.
“Korobov, more or less, halted everyone in the championships.
“Everyone was wiped off the floor by him. At the time, he was an incredible fighter.”
The ‘Mercy Rule’ states that if a boxer is completely outclassed, the referee may spare him.
Usyk was in desperate need of it.
“There was a knockdown, and then there was a stoppage,” Korobov recalled of the one-sided fight.
“I’m very sure I knocked him off his feet. A knockdown was scored by the referee. I believe that was the end of the round – the second if my memory serves me well.
“I was many points ahead of him in the third round, so the points terminated it.”
Smith had seen Scotland’s Fundo Mhura compete in the same weight class, but he claims Usyk’s defeat would not have piqued his interest.
“On the outclass rule, the outscored rule, where he was 20 points ahead, he [Korobov] used to win a lot.
“Although defeating Usyk by 20 points is incredible now, no one could have predicted it at the time.
“It was probably predicted by everyone. It was something he was doing to everyone.”
Usyk and Korobov were set to fight again three months later in Azerbaijan, but the fight never took place, and the Russian was awarded a ‘walkover victory.’
Usyk had vanished.
Usyk resurfaced in the Ukrainian team, but this time his weight class was over two stone heavier, according to Tony Jeffries, Team GB’s Olympic bronze medalist.
“Korobov was 75 kilogrammes, and then there was the 81-kilogramme division, which was where I was,” Jeffries explained.
“Usyk increased his weight to 91 kilogrammes. According to what we’ve heard, the only reason Usyk wasn’t in the 81kg division for Ukraine was that they had Ismail Sillakh, another extremely talented fighter.
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