Hearn says Usyk to fight on May 18, wants Povetkin, Parker or Ortiz
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn says Oleksander Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) will be making his heavyweight debut on May 18, possibly against Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker or Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz. For some reason, Hearn is mentioning Ortiz (30-1, 26 KOs) despite the fact that he’s already scheduled to fight Christian Hammer (24-5, 14 KOs) on March 2 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It’s quite possible that Hearn is using Ortiz’s as a way of getting attention from boxing fans, but without serious intent. Ortiz’s name is frequently thrown around by Hearn and his Matchroom stable fighter Dillian Whyte. It seems to be a ritual with Hearn and Whyte where they mention Ortiz’s before fights, but then never use him.
“The date looks set for May 18th. It’ll be in America,” Hearn said to Fighthype about Oleksander Usyk’s next fight. “We’re looking at Povetkin, Parker and Ortiz. With the Dillian Whyte April 20th card, it looks like it’s going to be, what is confirmed at the O2, we got Povetkin, Parker; We got all those guys in the mix for that card. We got to see who wants to take on Usyk. He’s up for fighting [Luis] Ortiz, [Joseph] Parker, [Alexander] Povetkin, all those guys,” Hearn said.
Overwhelmingly, the boxing fans would like to see Usyk fight Ortiz next, but we know that’s not going to happen. Ortiz is already scheduled for the Hammer fight on March 2. Hearn isn’t going to wait until March 2 to setup a fight between Ortiz and Usyk. That would leave Ortiz less than two months to recover from his fight with Hammer, and that’s not enough time for him to prepare for Usyk. There would also be a big risk of Ortiz getting nicked up in the Hammer fight, and that too would put the Usyk fight at risk.
So what we’re basically looking at is Povetkin and Parker as potential opponents for Usyk’s next fight on May 18. It’s unclear which of those two names are just thrown about by Hearn without serious intent.
“I wouldn’t,” Hearn said when asked if Usyk should fight the likes of Parker, Povetkin or Ortiz in his first fight at heavyweight. “That’s what he wants. I would say go a little bit easier on his first fight out of the way, but these are the guys he’s calling for, and I guess that’s why people love him so much,” Hearn said.
Usyk, 32, is looking to show the boxing world that he deserves a title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua rather than having it given to him on a silver platter due to him being one of Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable fighters. You’ve got to like Usyk’s attitude. Usyk isn’t messing about. He wants Povetkin, Parker or Ortiz fights straightway, although I’m not too sure about whether he truly wants Ortiz or not. That’s Hearn saying that, not Usyk. That could be just Hearn babbling trying to get the boxing public to focus on Usyk the easy way. The fans will be disappointed if Hearn does the old bait and switch by throwing Dave Allen in with Usyk in his first fight at heavyweight. That would be an awful fight, but an utterly predictable one. Usyk’s last fight was against one of Hearn’s stable fighters in Tony Bellew. Rather than Hearn putting Usyk in with one of the relevant cruiserweights in the division like Yunier Dorticos, Krzysztof Glowacki or Mairis Briedis, he put him in with Bellew. The results were predictable. Usyk knocked Bellew out in the 8th round after appearing to carry him for the first seven rounds.
It’s interesting that Joseph Parker’s name is being mentioned as a possible opponent for Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs). Why would Hearn put Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) back in with Whyte when he just beat the guy last July by a 12 round unanimous decision at the O2 Arena in London, England. Granted, the fight was filled with fouling from Whyte, and blown calls by the referee Ian John Lewis. If you take away the blown call by Lewis in the 2nd round in which he gave Whyte credit for a bogus knockdown, which in reality was a head-butt, and then factor in all the fouls from Dillian that should have resulted in point deductions, Parker would have been a clear winner. What would change if Parker and Whyte fought each other a second time? If the rematch is going to take place in the UK, what happens if the officiating is the same as the first fight? Is Parker going to win under those circumstances? If Parker’s recent performance against Alexander Flores is any indication, we could see a real foul-fest in a Whyte-Parker rematch. Parker really roughed up Flores in their fight last December. If Whyte starts in where he left off with the fouling of Parker, he could see a no-holds barred type of primitive fight where the rules go out the window from the word go.