World title shots will beckon for both fighters come the end of Saturday night, but who will come out on top?
By Virgin TV Edit
It’s fitting that two of the heavyweight division’s scariest prospects should collide on Halloween. Not just because both Oleksandr Usyk and Derek Chisora are two of boxing’s biggest, hardest hitters. But because if each brings their A game, it could well be one of the fights of the year.
While Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury’s respective grips on all four heavyweight belts means nothing is certain, a shot at either one of Joshua’s three belts or Fury’s WBC title surely beckons for the winner of this blockbuster contest.
And what a contest it is shaping up to be. In former Olympic champion Usyk, Chisora faces his toughest bout since his 2012 title fight with Vitali Klitschko. For Usyk, it’ll be his first true test since relinquishing all four of his cruiserweight titles and stepping up to heavyweight.
As such, some seriously big questions are being asked of both fighters before they step into the ring at Wembley Arena come Saturday night…
A step (up) too far for Usyk?
Usyk is that rare thing in boxing: a humble “superstar” whose easy-going nature belies his brutality in the ring. After becoming the first-ever fighter to hold all four major cruiserweight titles and retiring Tony Bellew in 2018, Usyk set his sights on one goal – doing the same as a heavyweight.
To do so, and should Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury’s supposed 2021 super fight materialise, he’ll have to either beat both or at least the winner of such a bout. A tall order, in other words.
A dominant win over Chisora that some foresee on Saturday is a necessity. Especially if he’s to prove he has what it takes to warrant his mandatory challenger status for Joshua’s WBO belt and mount an audacious assault on all four heavyweight titles. Chisora, though, presents a serious step up in class.
Whether Usyk has what it takes to fulfil his goal will soon become clear.
Is this the end of Chisora’s resurgence?
The odds may be stacked against Chisora, but he isn’t a fighter you could (nor should) ever write off. His resurgence under former trainer Dave Coldwell and manager David Haye after an inconsistent (if always entertaining) early part to his career has been remarkable.
Despite two devastating losses to Dillian Whyte either side of it, Chisora has looked a different fighter since his sudden comeback win against Carlos Takam. It proved a turning point, of sorts. Consistency has crept back into Chisora’s game, marrying nicely with his trademark power and granite chin.
Usyk may well be another step too far for a fighter who has never quite managed to remain on the same level as the likes of Joshua, Fury, Deontay Wilder or Whyte. But as Chisora has proven before, he’ll either shake up everything with one powerful punch, or go down fighting.
What could be next for both fighters?
A win for Usyk will force a bout with WBO title holder Joshua in 2021, with a stopgap fight against another opponent beforehand also highly likely. Lose and the unbeaten, fleet-footed Ukrainian’s quest for heavyweight domination will be dealt a serious blow.
For Chisora, a win would instantly be ranked as the biggest of his career and, potentially, throw his name into the growing list of challengers baying for Joshua and Fury’s belts. Defeat, though, is unlikely to change anything in the long run. He’s never been a fighter that lingers on his losses.
What to expect from Usyk v Chisora?
Heavyweight boxing is notoriously difficult to predict with any certainty. That said, expect fluidity, fast hands and power from Usyk throughout; and power, determination and a dogged, never-say-die attitude from Chisora. Oh, and a knockout. Of that we’re confident.
When is Oleksandr Usyk v Derek Chisora on TV?
Usyk v Chisora takes place from 7pm on Saturday 31 October. It costs £20.95 (HD) or £19.95 (SD).
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