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Bryant Jennings: ‘Usyk isn’t ready for Chisora’

Image: Bryant Jennings: 'Usyk isn't ready for Chisora'

By Charles Brun: Bryant Jennings says he doesn’t believe that Oleksandr Usyk will be ready what he’ll be dealing with when he faces Dereck Chisora on May 23.

The fights that Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) has had as an amateur and as a pro aren’t adequate preparation for what Usyk, 33, will experience when he faces Chisora at the O2 Arena in London. Jennings has been sparring with Chisora, and he knows how good he is.

We still don’t know if the Usyk-Chisora fight will need to be postponed or not due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hearn believes it’ll be fine because he’s counting on the coronavirus quickly disappearing by May. That may be wishful thinking.  At this point, we can only hope that the Usyk-Chisora fight will take place on that date.

Usyk’s experience is limited to these fighters:

  • Chazz Witherspoon
  • Murat Gassiev
  • Krzysztof Glowacki
  • Mairis Briedis
  • Marco Huck
  • Tony Bellew
  • Thabiso Mchunu
  • Michael Hunter

Only Witherspoon is a heavyweight, and he was long past it when Usyk was set up to fight him. Hearn took no chances in matching Usyk against Witherspoon, and it’s understandable why. The World Boxing Organization had already elevated Usyk to WBO mandatory. He wasn’t going to take a risk by fighting a good heavyweight in his debut in the division.

Jennings: Usyk is going to be tested

“This is a great test for Usyk. It’s a test that a lot of people such as myself think he doesn’t understand the caliber of the test that he’s taking,” said Jennings to IFL TV on Usyk’s fight against Chisora. “Especially based on the fact with the way he dealt with Chazz Witherspoon. But he has great qualities and great athleticism, and he’s very technical. He has it all.

“Dereck is a little strong. Me telling you that you’re a little strong is you’re a little stronger than me, and I’m strong. I really want to see how that pans out, as far as him being able to take the pressure. That’s really going to be the question,” said Jennings about Usyk. “And that’s the only thing because we’ve seen him do everything else.

“That’s going to be the best question for him after the fight, whether he wins or loses. How did you feel with that heavyweight presence in taking that pressure? How did you feel in taking and absorbing those punches from a real heavyweight? That’s not to say that Chazz [Witherspoon] wasn’t one. I’m talking about a person that is in great shape and has a lot of time to prepare,” said Jennings.

If Usyk fights Chisora in the same way he fought Hunter, he’ll have problems. In his 12 round decision win over Hunter in April 2017, he went to war with him at close range for 12 rounds. It worked for Usyk, as he won a 12 round decision, but he was hit an awful lot in the fight. Usyk was able to succeed in part because Hunter isn’t a huge puncher. This was a cruiserweight, and Usyk didn’t have to deal with a big puncher.

Usyk doesn’t know what it’s like to fight Chisora

“How did it feel to be able to absorb the power from a Dereck Chisora? Yeah, he’s a fighter,” said Jennings on Usyk choosing to take a risky fight against Chisora. “He’s done what he’s done so far, and he’s shown great abilities. He definitely can be a threat in the heavyweight division based on his technical abilities. But it’s one thing that we haven’t ever seen yet.

“That’s what we’re waiting to see. But on the other side, I’ve seen Dereck. I don’t think he’s ready for that,” said Jennings on his belief that Usyk isn’t ready for Chisora. “I don’t think he knows what that is. Mimicking someone in sparring for this Dereck. You can look at all the other Dereck’s, but for this Dereck, Dereck against Dillian. Dillian is a dog.

“Dillian is like a good fighter, and a strong fighter as well. You kind of have to assesses that, and it’s a little weird to assess. If you’re looking at a trash bag against a good guy. But you’re looking at a good guy against a good guy.

‘So based off of the whole Chazz Witherspoon thing, and his minor little discomforts. He [Usyk] has to prepare well and prepare well in that area of boxing to where he can absorb,” said Jennings.

Usyk needs to win the fight and put on a masterclass performance in beating Chisora, but he may not be able to do that. He was boring in his wins over Bellew, Huck, and Mchunu. Against Witherspoon, Usyk was getting hit by an out of shape older heavyweight, who bruised up his face. Witherspoon, 38, had only fought a handful of times in the last four years going into that fight.

Jennings: Chisora has improved

“He needs to train with stronger fighters,” said Jennings. “And he may even need to do some grappling because I don’t know if he’s going to be able to do what he did to Chazz what he did to Dereck. I’m speaking about the new Dereck. Not many people know this Dereck. I mean, this is the same Dereck that Whyte knocked out. Guys like that and s— like that can happen.

“I know how hard he’s been working, and I know the improvements he’s made based on his consistency. And I know the improvements he’s made off his persistence, and I’m in there with him. I see the improvements, It might be the same with Usyk, but I’m just speaking on a better Deeck. I’m speaking on a Dereck that not too many people have witnessed. Sometimes you speak highly on a person, and you speak highly on someone, and they stink it up.

“And you say, ‘I don’t know what the f— that they were talking about.’ I just think this new Dereck is something that no one has ever seen before. That’s not to say that he’s five times better. It’s just a different Dereck. He’s comfortable, and he smiles a lot, and he’s strong. And he’s a lot stronger. He’s in shape. That’s what we’re going to say, and he’s going to come to fight,” said Jennings of Chisora.

Dereck has improved in his recent fights, and he remains dangerous for any heavyweight in the division. Dillian Whyte had lots of problems beating Chisora twice, especially in their rematch in 2018. If not for the referee making himself the center of attention by twice docking points from Chisora, we might have seen Whyte losing.

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