Showing that he’s a pretty fair power puncher when he wants to be, WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (11-0, 10 KOs) won a 9th round technical knockout victory over Thabiso Mchunu (17-3, 1 KOs) last Saturday night in his maiden title defense of his new WBO strap in front of a large crowd at the Forum in beautiful Inglewood, California.
Usyk is not known for his punching power, but he chose to unveil his power against Mchunu at the urging of the many boxing fans in the audience. The fans wanted to see action, and Usyk was quick to pick up on their hints to knock Mchunu down three times in the fight. The fight ended with Mchunu going down twice in round 9. The fight was stopped a 1:53 of round nine. It was a good stoppage by the referee. Mchunu could do nothing inside the ring other than land an odd pot shot here and there.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Usyk looked like he was surprised by Mchunu’s hand speed and pinpoint accuracy at times in the fight. Usyk normally doesn’t get hit by clean right hands and left hooks in his fights like he was against Mchunu. Usyk didn’t get discouraged. He would bang his gloves together and regroup after getting hit. It was Mchunu who ultimately lost it when Usyk started to unload on him in the 6th and 9th rounds.
Those rounds were a heck of a lot more different than the rest of the fight. Usyk went from throwing single shots in those rounds to throwing flurries, making it impossible for Mchunu to block all the incoming fire. Mchunu showed great boxing skills for such a diminutive fighter. He’s listed at 5’11”, but he appeared a lot shorter than that.
The ending of the Usyk-Mchunu fight was a lot more satisfying than the main event between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. That fight ended poorly with Hopkins falling out of the ring in the 8th and suffering an injury that prevented him from continuing.
The 6’3” Usyk fought like a bigger version of Vasyl Lomachenko in boxing Mchunu from the outside, shifting his punching angles, and totally outclassing him. Mchunu didn’t seem to know what to do in the fight, as he kept getting hit and he wasn’t able to prevent him Usyk from landing his power shots.
Mchunu was knocked down in the 6th round by a left hand from Usyk. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine threw an avalanche of punches that Mchunu had no hope of ever blocking. When Mchunu did finally go down, it was because he couldn’t take all the shots that were raining down on him from the bigger Usyk.
In the 9th, Mchunu took a knee to escape the cascade of punches Usyk was throwing. Mchunu did not look hurt. He just needed an escape from the rain of shots, and he found a way by taking a knee. The referee had seen enough after the second time Mchunu took and knee and then chose to stop the fight.