Usyk defends WBO title in World Series

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Oleksandr Usyk now progresses to the semi-finals of the new World Boxing Super Series

Oleksandr Usyk defended his WBO cruiserweight title with a stoppage win over Marco Huck in the opening World Boxing Super Series bout.

The Ukraine fighter looked stronger and better conditioned throughout and a relentless flurry of punches saw Huck stopped on his feet in the 10th round.

The win in Berlin takes undefeated Usyk through to the semi-finals of the first World Boxing Super Series tournament.

The event will conclude in May and features a $50m prize fund.

That pool will be split across two tournaments, one for super-middleweights and one for cruiserweights, with each featuring eight fighters competing from a quarter-final stage.

Usyk will now face a semi-final against either Latvia’s WBC world champion Mairis Briedis or Cuba’s Mike Perez. That bout will see the WBC and WBO titles unified as under tournament rules, fighters holding belts will put them on the line throughout the knockout competition.

Usyk, 30, extended his career record to 13 fights without defeat against Huck, who has now lost five of his 46 contests.

Dave Coldwell, who trains British fighter Tony Bellew, believes Usyk is the favourite in the cruiserweight tournament

The power of Usyk’s punches often forced his German opponent backwards and at times Huck looked fatigued as rounds wore on. His rival though remained solid, taking the centre of the ring and showing patience throughout as he dominated.

Huck survived punishment late in the seventh as Usyk landed a straight left and a hook in the corner, while in the eighth he landed two crisp left hands before going down under a low blow which saw Huck docked a point.

In the 10th Usyk worked his rival around the ring, exerting pressure with combinations as Huck opted to simply cover up. The 32-year-old had tried to throw counter-punches in reply when troubled in previous rounds but with little to offer, referee Robert Byrd ended the contest.

The super-middleweight competition begins next week when Liverpool’s Callum Smith takes on Sweden’s Erik Skoglund in his home city.

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