Hearn wants Usyk to face Whyte, Chisora, Ward or Takam in early 2019
By Tim Royner: Promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s hoping to match unified cruiserweight Oleksander Usyk with the winner or loser of this Saturday’s fight between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora, Andre Ward or Carlos Takam for a fight in April of 2019. Hearn is trying to give the unbeaten 31-year-old Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) a big push to increase his popularity in a hurry worldwide, but especially in the UK so that he can match him against Anthony Joshua in either 2019 or 2020. That’s the fight that Hearn badly wants to make.
Whyte or Chisora would obviously be sacrificed in facing Usyk, and likely made to look silly in losing to him in a one-sided fight.
“Usyk could fight the winner or loser of [Whyte vs Chisora],” Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn said to skysports.com. Can [Usyk] mix it with the big boys? That is the fascination.”
Based on how Usyk looked against Tony Bellew last November, you would have to say that he’s not capable of mixing it up with the big boys. After moving up in weight from cruiserweight, Bellew wasn’t one of the larger heavyweights, but he still gave Usyk a lot of problems. Granted, the fight between them took place at cruiserweight and not heavyweight, but Usyk still looked very beatable. He also looked beatable in the World Series of Boxing against Joe Joyce in 2013. Some fans look at that fight and say it was an easy match for Usyk against a thin 230 pound Joyce but it didn’t look that way tot his writer. Usyk took heavy punishment, and was exhausted and reddened in the face. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk hasn’t improved since the Joyce fight, so it makes sense to assume that he would be beaten by some of the larger heavyweight contenders in the division like Whyte, Luis Ortiz, Joyce, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. You couldn’t rule out Usyk losing to the hard punching contenders like Adam Kownacki, Jarrell Miller and Alexander Povetkin, to name just a few.
With Hearn in a BIG hurry to put Usyk in with Joyce, the boxing public will never get a chance to see whether the Ukrainian fighter is a good fighter or not before he faces AJ. Hearn is going to make that fight as fast as possible, and it’s easy to understand why. He doesn’t want Usyk to be exposed before he sells a fight between him and Joyce to the boxing public. If Hearn waited a year or two before matching Usyk against Joshua, the fans would see the limitations in his game and wouldn’t be interested in paying to see him fight AJ.
“No-one really knows how good Usyk truly will be at heavyweight. We know he will be good,” Hearn said about Usyk.
We know that Usyk is a good cruiserweight, but we don’t know if he can fight guys that outweigh him by 30 to 100 pounds. Usyk is basically another Agit Kabayel type heavyweight. He’s more skilled than Kabayel, but he moves about a much, and he lacks power. That’s going to be a problem, both in his ability to win and to entertain the masses. In Usyk’s 2 fights in the U.S against Michael Hunter and Thabiso Mchunu, he was booed at times for spending so much time running around the ring, and not fighting. American boxing fans like to see action, and Usyk as just boxing and making it hard on the eyes. Hunter forced Usyk to fight, and he chose to move and stay away from him. Against Mchunu, Usyk treated him like a KO artist instead of a small 5’11” fighter with no punching power. The image of the much larger 6’3″ Usyk running from Mchunu looked odd in the eyes of a lot of the U.S boxing fans that were at ringside on the night, and not surprisingly they booed him.
Chisora (29-8, 21 KOs) and Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs) will be fighting in a rematch this Saturday night on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England. IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will be ringside for the fight, as there’s a good chance that he’ll be fighting the winner of the contest.
Usyk wants to move up to heavyweight to face Joshua, and unify the division before retiring from boxing. Most fans don’t believe that Usyk will retire if he does fulfill his dream of unifying the division. With the money he can make in rematches against Joshua and Deontay Wilder, it would be crazy for him to walk away.
Hearn says Usyk won’t fight mediocre heavyweights in the division. Hearn can probably setup a fight between Usyk and the 38-year-old Takam, but that’s not a big fight. Takam is a fringe contender. Getting him to agree to a fight against Usyk is likely, but it won’t be easy for Hearn to enlist Whyte or Chisora for the job, as neither of them would likely relish the job of dealing with his movement. Takam wouldn’t be an ideal opponent for Usyk, considering that he’s lost two in a row recently in knockout losses to Chisora and Joshua. Usyk wouldn’t get much credit for beating Takam right now, and I think it would bother him enough not to take the fight in the first place.
The fight that Hearn would really like for Usyk is against Andre Ward at cruiserweight. Hearn calls Usyk vs. Ward a “50-50′ fight. Hearn doesn’t sound optimistic in making the fight. It would likely require a huge amount of money to get Ward to come out of retirement to move up to cruiserweight to fight the unbeaten Usyk for his four titles. Without Usyk being popular yet in the UK, it would likely take a lot of money from Matchroom Boxing to make the fight happen. With the money that Ward would likely want for the fight, it’s hard to imagine Usyk getting an even split of the purse. He might need to let Ward take the lion’s share of the money to make the fight happen. Would Usyk be agreeable to that? Probably not.
Of the four potential opponents that Hearn is talking about wanting to match against Usyk in April 2019, Carlos Takam has to be viewed as the most realistic of the four. Whyte won’t want to take the fight with Usyk, because he wants the Joshua rematch. Even if Whyte loses to Chisora this weekend, he’s not going to want to take a fight against Usyk in his next time out. Whyte will rebuild like he did after his loss to Joshua in 2015. That means the boxing world will see Whyte steering clear of Usyk and instead facing guys like Ivica Bacurin, Malcolm Tann and Dave Allen.