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Dillian Whyte calls out Oleksander Usyk

Alexander Usyk Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: A day after IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksander Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) dispatched the retiring Tony Bellew (30-3-1, 20 KOs) in an 8th round knockout at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, heavyweight contender Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs) has already volunteered to face the Ukrainian talent.

Unfortunately for Whyte, he’s already scheduled to fight journeyman Dereck Chisora (29-8, 21 KOs) next month on December 22 on Sky Box office at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

In what appears to be a clear move to ride Usyk’s coattails, Whyte has offered him a fight, although doesn’t say when he would be willing to fight him. It’s not as if Whyte has a free schedule to fight the unbeaten 31-year-old Usyk.

If it’s a big fight and he wants it, he can have it. I’m game,” Whyte said to in offering Usyk a fight, but failing to give a date or location for when the fight would take place.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wasn’t saying last Saturday who he plans on matching Usyk against after he moves up to the heavyweight division. What’s clear is Hearn has to move Usyk quickly by matching him against the right opposition in order to increase his popularity in the U.S and the UK. Hearn isn’t going to be able to increase Usyk’s popularity in the United States if he sticks him in with weak opposition like Matchroom stable heavyweight David Allen. That might work in the UK to increase Usyk’s popularity, but it won’t register in the U.S, where boxing fans are arguably more discerning about the fights that are presented to them. In other words, they know a mismatch when they see one, and they’re not going to bang the drum just for the sake of it at seeing Usyk beat up on a domestic level brawler.

Since it’s clear that Hearn loves to make in house fights involving his Matchroom stable fighters, he likely wants to match Usyk against all of his heavyweight one after another before he puts him in with Anthony Joshua. The problem is that Hearn wants to match his top heavyweight – Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller and Dillian Whyte – against Joshua first before he gets around to putting those two in with Usyk. As such, Hearn is likely going to wait until Whyte, 30, and Miller both lose to Joshua before he puts them in with Usyk. What that means is Usyk won’t get any credit by the boxing public for beating Miller and Whyte given that he’ll be getting Joshua’s leftovers. For Usyk to get credit, Hearn is going to need to reach other to other promoters to try and entice them to put their top contenders at heavyweight in with Usyk. I think it’s unlikely that the other promoters will want to help Hearn unless he offers them huge money. I mean, why would a promoter want to let Usyk fight their heavyweight contenders when they can make better money fighting Joshua. That’s where the big money comes in for the contenders. Facing Usyk will be chickenfeed compared to a title shot against Joshua.

If Whyte wins that fight, he’s a lock to face IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) in the first quarter of next year on April 13 in a big money pay-per-view bout at Wembley Stadium in London, UK. The British boxing fans are licking their chops at the thought of Whyte challenging Joshua for his titles in a rematch. For the rest of the world, they’re bored with idea of seeing Joshua take a retread fight against a guy that is little more than a slapper, and who should have lost his last fight against former World Boxing Organization champion Joseph Parker last July. With a quality referee working the Whyte-Parker fight, you can argue that Whyte would have lost the fight.

Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi believes that Usyk needs at least three fights before he gets the title shot against Joshua. Malignaggi thinks Usyk should fight these three heavyweights:

– Dillian Whyte

– Dereck Chisora

– Fres Oquendo

“He is going to need a few heavyweight fights before he gets Joshua, so we will have to wait,” Sky pundit Paulie Malignaggi said to “The Bellew fight was a real cat-and-mouse affair and heavyweights just don’t do that. He needs to go in with someone like Whyte, Chisora or Fres Oquendo first. Size and experience at that weight will be the tests, then we can take it from there,” Malignaggi said.

Hearn has the ability to make all three of those fights happen, but it’s unlikely that Usyk’s popularity will increase fighting them. He needs to face the upper level talents in the heavyweight division like Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz, Dominic Breazeale, Adam Kownacki, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev. If Usyk can beat those types of heavyweights, he’ll gain a lot of boxing fans in the States. Putting him in with 45-year-old Oquendo and the journeyman Chisora is a waste of time, especially if Dereck is beaten by Whyte next month in their December 22. Knowing Hearn, he’ll still look to match Usyk against Chisora even with him coming off of a loss to Whyte. If Usyk and his manager are on the ball, they’ll reject Hearn’s idea of putting him in with a beaten Chisora and/or 45-year-old Oquendo. If Usyk has a say so in the matter, he needs to insist that Hearn match him against quality guys, not fighters coming off losses to Whyte and Joshua.

Usyk and Hearn haven’t yet said how long they want to wait before they make the fight with Joshua. However, the way that Usyk fought against Bellew last Saturday night, he needs at least two good years in the heavyweight division to get aclimitized before he faces Joshua. Usyk is too timid, too weak and far too defensive for him to excel in the heavyweight division the way he’s fighting right now. Hearn had to have been thinking last night, ‘What on earth did I do in signing Usyk. He looks bloody awful. He’s not going to go anywhere in the heavyweight division. Heck, he almost lost to Bellew, who was trounced by Adonis Stevenson. What am I going to do with Usyk? I need to get him in a quick cash out fight against Joshua as soon as possible before he’s beaten by someone in the heavyweight division.’ This is what some boxing fans think of Usyk after seeing him struggle against a very limited slugger in Bellew. If Usyk couldn’t even dominate a bottom five cruiserweight like Bellew, then he sure as heck isn’t going to be able to defeat any of the talented heavyweight contenders, let alone the top guys like WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. Usyk looked dreadful against Bellew last night. The courage wasn’t there for Usyk, and his power is far too weak for him to beat any of the top heavyweight. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Usyk looked mediocre as a pro. Usyk looked scared and unsure of himself in his fights against Michael Hunter, Mairis Briedis, Thabiso Mchunu and Krzysztof Glowacki. The boxing fans were booing Usyk’s performance against Mchunu in December 2016 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The fans in the Southern California like to see exciting sluggers like former middleweight champion Gennady Golokvin. They weren’t at all pleased at seeing the bigger 6’3″ Usyk running around the ring, treating the much shorter and weaker 5’11” Mchunu like he was a knockout threat.

As for Usyk fighting Whyte, it’s probably a waste of time entirely unless Dillian defeats Joshua next April in their pointless rematch. If Whyte loses to Joshua by another knockout, then there’s absolutely no reason for Usyk to fight him under those conditions. Unfortunately for Usyk, he’ll probably have to agree to whoever Hearn wants him to fight whether he likes it or not. That means that Usyk is going to have to get Joshua’s leftovers one after another in facing Whyte and ‘Big Baby’ Miller after they’re beaten by him. That puts Usyk in a bad position where he’ll receive no credit for beating them, and he’ll be seen as the cleanup person, who takes on the guys that Joshua has already beaten. That’s not exactly how you want to be seen by the boxing fans when you’re trying to build a name for yourself. In a perfect world, Hearn would let Usyk get first dibs at facing Jarrell Miller and Whyte before they get taken apart by Joshua, but that’s not going to happen. Hearn signed those guys to his Matchroom stable with the idea of putting them in with Joshua, and that’s what he’s going to do. Hearn won’t let Usyk beat Miller and Whyte first before he feeds them to Joshua because then AJ won’t get any credit. As such, Usyk is going to need to fight the guys that Joshua has beaten first, and then all he can do is hope that he looks better than he did in beating them.

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