By Manouk Akopyan
Oleksandr Usyk will be making his much anticipated heavyweight debut this year after all.
The 2018 BWAA Fighter of the Year and unbeaten former undisputed cruiserweight champion will be moving up to heavyweight to fight Carlos Takam on Oct. 12 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, a source informed of the fight told BoxingScene.com. The matchup will be officially announced later this week.
Usyk suffered a torn right biceps injury in May just days before his originally scheduled May 25 affair with Takam (36-5-1, 28 knockouts) that led to a postponement of his first foray into the heavyweight division.
The May fight was to take place at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., but now, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing have shifted strategy and cities over to Chicago. Usyk will be fighting in the Unites States for just the third time.
The heavyweight affair will be a very important one for Usyk (16-0, 12 knockouts), a gold medalist in the 2012 Olympics. The Ukrainian is a mandatory challenger for winner of the recently announced tilt between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua.
Usyk had a banner year in 2018, blowing out the likes of Tony Bellew in England, Murat Gassiev in Russia and Mairis Briedis in Latvia. In the process, he collected three championships to make it a total of four and unified the division. He also took claim to The Ring magazine and lineal cruiserweight titles and was the victor of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series and Muhammad Ali Trophy.
The 38-year-old Takam has been in the ring with Anthony Joshua, Dereck Chisora, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin (all losses) in recent years. His notable wins have come against Tony Thompson and Frans Botha.
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can reached on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].