In October of 2019, both Oleksandr Usyk and Derek Chisora reminded the world of why they’ve become marquee names in the sport of boxing. On October 12th, Usyk made his heavyweight debut in Chicago by dominating Chazz Witherspoon throughout the course of seven rounds.
It was such a thorough display of skill and power that Witherspoon’s corner decided their fighter had taken enough of a beating for the night; there would be no eighth round.
Exactly two weeks later, a 35-year-old Chisora reminded fight fans that he was still a relevant contender by forcing David Price’s corner to throw in the towel in the fourth round of their fight at the O2 Arena.
One year later, these two household names are set to square off against each other in what is sure to be one of the most entertaining bouts of the year. Both men are hungry, and both come into the fight with a lot on the line.
One major difference this time around for both fighters will be the fact that neither man will be facing a last-minute opponent. Just five days before he was slated to face Usyk, Tyrone Spong tested positive for a banned substance and was forced to withdraw from the fight.
That opened the door for Witherspoon to step in as a replacement, and ultimately take the same beating Usyk would’ve most likely delivered to Spong.
Joseph Parker, the man originally due to face Chisora last October, backed out of their fight 25 days before the date with an illness. David Price was named the replacement, and being the seasoned veteran that he is, Chisora put on a dominant performance despite the last-minute adjustment.
This time around, Usyk and Chisora are not facing replacements; each fighter is a ring savvy veteran who’s had ample time to be prepared. This fight will be a true test for each man.
Derek Chisora’s advantages entering the fight
The advantage Chisora has come into this fight is that he is the much bigger fighter with more experience in the heavyweight division. Chisora outweighs Usyk by almost 30 pounds, with Usyk having a slight advantage in height.
That difference in size means that Oleksandr will not have the advantage he’s used to of unquestionably being the hardest puncher in the ring. In each of Chisora’s last two bouts, he has either knocked out his opponent or caused their corner to throw in the towel.
Normally, Usyk is the fighter with the power to end the fight with one blow; this time around he must beware of the punching power his opponent brings into the ring.
Oleksandr Usyk’s advantages entering the fight
Oleksandr Usyk is three years younger than Derek Chisora, he’ undefeated as a professional, and he knows what it’s like to be the undisputed champion of the world. Usyk held all four cruiserweight belts before relinquishing the title to become a heavyweight.
In his first bout in the division, he put all doubters on notice that he was not to be taken lightly. His dominant performance through seven rounds against a bigger man last October showed that he is more than ready for the heavyweight division. Having only recently joined the heavyweight ranks, Usyk still has the discipline in the conditioning of a fighter who must make weight.
If Usyk has advantages, it’s that he punches like a heavyweight, trains like a middleweight, and enters the fight with less wear and tear on his body than the Chisora, who’s not only older but has had more professional fights as well.
What does each fighter hope to gain?
The elephant in the room is that in the back of each fighter’s mind are two men who will not be in attendance on Saturday. Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are on a collision course, and both Usyk and Chisora want to have their names somewhere in the mix. If everything goes as planned, next year the boxing world will get the match its been salivating over for years, a unification bout between Joshua and Fury.
However, both Chisora and Usyk think they could challenge either man for the belt and they want to put themselves in position to be a mandatory challenger. Anthony Joshua is slated to fight Kubrat Pulev on December 12th.
Fury’s camp has stated they are looking for a worthy challenger for a voluntary defense bout in the early part of next year. The hope is that after each man wins his next fight, they will face each other.
Chisora and Usyk both believe that the winner of their fight has a strong argument to be the next opponent of the undisputed champion, whether that’s Joshua or Fury. As badly as Chisora and Usyk want to beat each other, ultimately each man sees the other as a roadblock on his way to the ultimate goal.
Why should fans tune into this fight?
Any fight fan who misses this bout is doing themselves a disservice. Both men have become household names because they take their craft seriously. Both men still have goals they are looking to achieve, and each knows this fight could either catapult them in the right direction or serve as a serious roadblock.
Neither man is looking past this fight and onto their next opponent; they respect one another’s resume and know that the other fighter must be taken seriously. It’s because of these factors that both men will come into the fight as prepared as any veterans of the sweet science can be, and ready to put on a show for the fans.
While Usyk has the advantage of youth and conditioning, Chisora’s power cannot be overlooked. Simply put, this is a must-see event for anyone who loves the sport of boxing.