Oleksandr Usyk, the former cruiserweight king who is scheduled to make his debut at heavyweight this Saturday in Chicago, is now without an opponent. This comes after Usyk’s originally scheduled opponent, former kickboxing star Tyrone Spong, tested positive for a banned substance.
Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn announced on Monday that VADA had returned an adverse result for Spong (14-0, 13 KOs) in their drug testing, leaving Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) without a dance partner. Hearn did say they had options for replacement opponents lined up, and it appears Usyk will still fight on the DAZN-streamed card from Chicago’s Wintrust Arena.
Usyk’s move to heavyweight is highly anticipated after he became the first man in history to hold all four major championships at cruiserweight. He ran through the deep field of the World Boxing Super Series, knocking off Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev, all in their home countries, to win the tournament. He wrapped up his cruiserweight career by traveling to England to knock out Tony Bellew last November.
As Usyk was the WBO’s “super champion,” he was immediately made the mandatory opponent for the winner of the Dec. 7 rematch between Anthony Joshua and champ Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk was originally scheduled to face Carlos Takam in his heavyweight debut in May, but was forced to withdraw from that bout with a biceps injury. The two teams hoped to reschedule the bout for September, but Takam signed on to fight Craig Lewis instead.
Usyk was heavily favored to beat Spong, but will likely be an even bigger favorite against any possible replacement opponent, likely keeping him set for a potential big money title fight in 2020.