Britain’s Dereck Chisora (32-9) will fight unbeaten Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) in a heavyweight bout on May 23 for “Usyk vs Chisora” at the O2 arena in London.
The fight, which has been discussed for over a year now, had been expected to occur in March but was stave off after Usyk suffered an injury in training. However, this look like to be postponed even further following the coronavirus pandemic.
In October last year, Chisora has not fought since a fourth-round stoppage victory over compatriot David Price.
Usyk, 33, is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion who stepped up to heavyweight last year against Chazz Witherspoon (38-4), cousin of former world champion, Tim.
For the May meeting, Both heavyweights remain in training, but it is hard to picture the date as a realistic one. However, let’s take a close look at the two heavyweights and try to watch who will come out on top:
The History Maker
At the London Olympics in 2012, Usyk won gold for Ukraine turned pro, pulverised the 200-pound division into particle dust.
He became the first cruiserweight champion to hold all four major world titles, drawing comparisons to Evander Holyfield, who was the first one to achieve the feat in 1988 when there were just three title belts available to win, shortly before the WBO was formed in that same year.
11 months after his last bout as a cruiserweight – an eight-round destruction fight of Tony Bellew in Manchester in November 2018 – Usyk made his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon, 38-year-old fighter who stepped in for the late withdrawal of Tyrone Spong, a third-rate opponent who returned an adverse doping test.
In the opening round, he got caught a couple of times, but from round two onwards, it was a typical display that we have come to expect from the formidable southpaw. He peppered the American with unrelenting shots and varied to head and body, until his broken-hearted opponent retired on his stool at the end of the seventh stanza.
The man did everything asked of him in the amateurs, the World Boxing Series, and in the cruiserweight division, and has yet to put a foot wrong in his glittering career.
Being a normal cruiserweight, he has got the technique and speed to be the same devastating threat up at heavyweight, but obviously the main question of power naturally arises. Will he be able to take his strength up with him to the blue-ribbon division, and will he be able to take care the power of his opponents as a man who has just weighed 215lbs at his heaviest?
The first on that list, ‘Glowka’, was the reigning WBO cruiserweight world champion until Usyk decisioned him comfortably in 2016 to become a world champion in just his 10th professional contest.
However, his next bout is against the ‘Gatekeeper’ of the division, so if he overcome him successfully then a fight with Joshua will be welcomed by many.
After his knockout loss to Dillian Whyte in December 2018, Chisora has shown no signs of slowing down. It was his second time defeat at the hands of the Brixton ‘Body Snatcher’ because everyone had demanded a rematch after their first meeting, exactly two years prior, which ended in a split decision result.
The 36-year-old has strung three wins together against modest competition, but definitely not world-class rated, however. He handled southpaw Senad Gashi (17-2) with ease, but in his career, the Kosovan hasn’t even been able to win a German heavyweight title and then in just two rounds, he KO’d world title contender Artur Szpilka (22-3), but the 30-year-old Pole has been knocked out in all four of his loses; then came his 32nd win via a fourth-round TKO over David Price (25-6), who is famous for having a distinct lack of punch resistance.
The UK heavyweight will take advantage of have a considerable benefit of weight and tipping the scales at 260lbs in his previous outing. Although Usyk is hoped to come in heavier than his previous fight, Chisora’s extra timber could be vital in his game plan, firstly with the heavier shots that will rattle any heavyweight in the planet, and also wearing him down by leaning on him in the clinches and pushing him back; strength and power the Ukrainian is not used to.
Chisora’s victories hasn’t been against the world’s best and he has only triumphed over fighters just below that level. He has beaten homely and European level boxers, but no one at the top of the planet.
How will the fight play out?
Usyk will be lighter than his opponent, but he will make up for it with his technique, awkwardness and speed. He will also have a four-inch reach benefit, which will enable him to downplay Chisora’s patterns for the first few rounds.
Usyk can takes time to examine his rival, before gradually dismantling them over a series of rounds. By rounds four and five, he is in stride and picking his opponents apart. He ups the pace and can makes them feel uncomfortable with his unrelenting attacks.
Three years his senior, Chisora has the better experience in the heavyweight division and is well established, whereas Usyk isn’t yet. The Londoner has already taken that he will be eating a lot of leather on that night, but is prepared to take a few in order to land his own.
Chisora will be looking to take advantage of the 2012 Olympic gold medallist’s inexperience at heavyweight, whilst also testing his chin at any opportunity.
It’s hard to guess Chisora’s heavier and slower shots landing cleanly like Bellew’s did. If he gets in close then he can make the most of his inside work, but Usyk will likely keep him at bay with his superior reach advantage.
If Usyk can start quickly, work out his rival quickly without taking any damage from him, then he will win every round towards a points win, but could step it up a gear towards the rounds of championship if he spies a weakness or frailty in his opponent.