Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora on March 28 at O2 – Eddie Hearn
By Tim Royner: A deal is in place for Oleksandr Usyk to face Dereck Chisora on March 28 at the O2 Arena in London, according to Eddie Hearn. The former unified cruiserweight champion Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) is willing to wait for his mandated title shot against Anthony Joshua as the WBO mandatory.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) will be defending against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev next.
Hearn stacking the Usyk vs. Chisora card on 3/28
For the March 28th Usyk-Chisora card, Hearn wants to stack the undercard with the following fights:
- Joshua Buatsi vs. TBA
- Filip Hrgovic vs. Martin Bakole
- Conor Benn vs. Johnny Garton
Bakole could mess things up for Hrgovic, who looks beatable, and has a habit of accidently throwing rabbit punches. Of Bakole can handle those shots to the back of the head, he could beat Hrgovic. Hearn has high hopes for Hrgovic, but he may be getting ahead of himself. He was beaten when he stepped it up at the amateur level, and we could see him get exposed in the pros by the always tough Bakole.
Part of the deal Hearn has with Usyk, 33, is that he gets his title shot against Joshua after he faces the 36-year-old Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) on the 28th of March. Usyk is fine with the deal, according to Hearn. He would likely be a big favorite to defeat Chisora, but you never know. Chisora cna punch, and Usyk has limited experience at heavyweight.
Usyk vs. Chisora at O2
“Right now, you’ve got Usyk-Chisora, hopefully at the O2,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “And then you’ve got April 18th, April 25 for Dillian Whyte, and then you’ve got early May, end of June for AJ. But there are so many things going on. So where is AJ going to fight? We want to do it in London. Olympic Stadium, Tottenham, Emirates, and Millenium Stadium is in play.
“I’ve said to Usyk, ‘You would have a situation in play where you get Chisora, and then Joshua, within your deal with us.’ And AJ is happy with that. Yes, he is,” said Hearn when asked if Usyk is happy with that deal. “For us, it’s more about getting the dates for Chisora, and March 28th for us is the perfect date,” said Hearn.
Usyk is so confident that he would literally agree to fight Chisora in his own living room if asked by Hearn, and you can understand that. Chisora is pretty played out after 13 years as a professional. The only way Usyk doesn’t win this fight is if he tries to stand in front of Chisora and slug on the night.
If Usyk fights smart like he did against Chazz Witherspooon in his heavyweight debut, then he wins this fight with ease. That’s not to say that Usyk won’t be marked up by the end of the fight, because he probably will. But as far as winning the contest, Usyk should have an easy time.
Eddie wants Joshua vs. Pulev in London in May or June
“I’d rather do it in London. So you’ve got May 23, May 30 and June 6. [Kubrat] Pulev wants as much money as possible,” said Hearn. The place that probably generates the least amount of money is the UK. But Pulev just wants to go wherever the fight has the most value.
“AJ isn’t really bothered about how much money it generates, and you know me,” said Hearn. “I’m not motivated by money at all. AJ isn’t just thinking, ‘I want to go to wherever generates the most money to fight Pulev. He wants to fight in London.
“So Turkey has come from Pulev’s team,” said Hearn. “They came to me and said, ‘I have interest in Turkey.’ I said, ‘Go explore it, find out the numbers, and we’ll do the same whether it’s Saudi, Nigeria or Congo or wherever.’ All these places are in play. But for us, it feels like the right step for us is to come back to London, and that’s what we want to do.
“Will Pulev agree to that? AJ would have to say, ‘It’s in London or else I’m going to vacate the belt.,’ which is a possibility. You may see him vacate his belt in this instant. We’ll get the fight done for early May or June. Chronologically, yes,” said Hearn when asked if Joshua will fight Pulev next rather than Usyk.
Usyk’s value will be increased after beating Chisora
“Pulev was ordered a considerable time before Usyk, so that’s the way we’ve got to go,” said Hearn.
It’s pretty obvious that Joshua would be going in the direction of Pulev for the IBF title defense even if that belt didn’t come next. You can argue that it’s just a lot easier fight for Joshua against the 38-year-old Pulev than Usyk. It’s better for Usyk’s value to be increased by taking on Chisora first before facing Joshua, and getting blasted out.