Earlier this year Usmanee launched himself on to the fringes of the world stage with a very controversial loss to the highly touted Cuban Rances Barthelemy.
The bout with Barthelemy, although a loss, had come on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" series and given Usmanee a huge boost in terms of his profile. His performance there had generated him a new fan base and everyone, from Teddy Atlas, working for ESPN, to fight fans were wanting to see Usmanee in action again.
Usmanee got that chance earlier today as he stepped back in to the ring in front of the ESPN cameras to take on IBF Super Featherweight champion Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11) a highly talented fighter who has real skills, speed and unexpected power.
Although everyone who had seen the Barthelemy fight knew that Usmanee was a good fighter many thought that this would be a step too far too soon and he was clearly priced as the under-dog against Mendez.
Despite the under-dog tag Usmanee did what he always does and fought his heart out. He set the tone of the fight from the opening round by pushing Mendez to the ropes and throwing shot after shot at Mendez. Although the champion managed to defend himself well and land a number of solid counters in between Usmanee's shots it was clear that the challenger wasn't here to play the under-dog.
Usmanee's onslaught continued in a similar fashion round after round as he repeatedly forced Mendez on to the ropes, forcing the champion to show off his defensive skills and his counter punching abilities between eating from a torrent of punches. Sure Usmanee wasn't the most accurate fighter in history but his sheer work rate was making life incredibly difficult for his more skilled opponent who was looking for opportunities but not finding enough of them to really catch the judges attention round after round.
Unfortunately for Usmanee, when you throw over 1000 and only around 25% of them connect you leave your self open to some big shots and that's exactly the logic that Mendez used, especially in the middle rounds. Although Usmanee's work rate never really dropped that much Mendez began picking his sports more carefully and claiming rounds with his effective countering.
Although Mendez did do enough for a number of rounds he couldn't maintain it and Usmanee fought back hard looking to claim a number of the later rounds. This forced a tired looking Mendez beginning to hold his feet as the men began to trade in some thoroughly exciting action moments. Neither appeared capable of hurting the other but both managed to land really eye catching shots with both hands as the fight became more and more exciting.
Unfortunately for all of Usmanee's effort, which reflected well with the Barthelemy bout, he was unable to claim enough points to take home the victory and title need to instead settle for a majority decision draw.
Although he "came up short" in the title effort Usmanee again left a lasting impression following an excellent performance and will see many fans calling for him to get a second world title fight. Whilst bouts with Takashi Uchiyama (WBA) and Takashi Miura (WBC) will likely end up with Usmanee taking a beating another bout with Mendez is surely going to be called for.