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Fight Announced: Oleksandr Usyk battles Dereck Chisora on May 23

Aleksandr Usyk Derek Chisora

By Tim Royner: Oleksandr Usyk will be looking to hand Dereck Chisora his 10th career defeat on May 23 when they meet in a 12-round scheduled bout in heavyweight action.


This is an important fight for Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) to keep him going until he gets his mandated world title shot against WBO champion Anthony Joshua or whoever holds the title by the time he challenges for the title.

If Usyk blows it and loses to Chisora, then he’s going to have to be rebuilt by Matchroom Boxing. Who knows how long that’ll take.

A loss for Usyk against Chisora would be a very strong signal that the Ukrainian needs to give up on his heavyweight dreams and do the sensible thing by moving back down to cruiserweight. He’s more suited to that weight class.

Usyk risking his guaranteed title shot

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has been talking about the Usyk-Chisora fight for months now, and it’s finally a done deal. Hearn sees this match as being one that will validate Usyk in the eyes of the world, who generally see him as a guy that was given the WBO mandatory position at heavyweight without earning it.

If Usyk loses to Chisora, then it’ll be him that challenges Joshua for the WBO title. This is a great opportunity for Chisora, who some fans felt was over-the-hill after his 11th round knockout loss to Dillian Whyte in 2018.

Usyk was made Joshua’s WBO mandatory before he fought his first fight at heavyweight, and then when he did fight in the weight class, he fought an old-timer in 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon last October.

Chisora wants to avenge the loss of his fellow countryman Tony Bellew by beating Usyk.  Bellew was stopped in the 8th round by Usyk in 2018 in a competitive fight.

Tony Bellew, Hunter, and Chazz Witherspoon. A lot of people compare Usyk with Evander Holyfield, but his style is nothing like his.

Why is Usyk fighting Chisora?

The reason Usyk is fighting the fringe contender Chisora is part promotional, and another part having to do with Delboy being a recognizable name in the UK. Since Matchroom Boxing is a UK based promotional company, it makes sense for their boss Eddie Hearn to put Usyk in with British heavyweights, even though he’s from Ukraine.

There are better fighters in the division than Chisora, but it’s important for Hearn to have the UK fans watch guys that they’re familiar with. Hearn wants to build the foreigner Usyk up in the UK to increase his popularity and one way of doing that is matching him against Brits.

Since Hearn promotes Chisora, he needs to be able to put him in big fights. Unfortunately, Chisora’s not in a position to compete for a world right now given his KO loss to Dillian Whyte in 2018, but if he gets lucky and stops Usyk on May 23, then there won’t be any issues with Hearn matching him against Joshua.

Chisora lacks the boxing skills to beat a talented boxer like Usyk by a decision, so he’s going to need to find a way to knock him out. Failing that, Chisora will probably lose by a lopsided 12 round decision. Usyk can’t punch at the heavyweight level, and that’s not going to change for this fight. He’s still basically a cruiserweight at heavyweight. That’s why Chisora has a chance of winning if he can catch Usyk standing still on May 23.

Chisora wants to avenge Bellew’s defeat 

“He is coming to my backyard, I’m going to remind him exactly why he hid in the cruiserweight division and also get revenge for my boy, Tony Bellew. This will be WAR,” said Chisora.

It’s unclear how close Chisora and Bellew are. Chisora needs to keep his mind clear and not fighting with emotion to try and avenge Bellew’s defeat. To have any chance of winning, the underdog Chisora has to fight smart for him to beat Usyk because if he goes in there swinging for the fences, he’s going to get picked apart.

Chisora and Usyk are both promoted by Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, which is why this fight makes sense. If not for that, Usyk would be better off fighting a top-five contender like Joseph Parker, Andy Ruiz Jr., Robert Helenius or Oscar Rivas.

It’s unclear whether Usyk and his management would be willing to take on a tough foe like one of them, as he would be risking his WBO title shot and guaranteed big money. For that reason, it’s likely that Usyk wouldn’t take a really dangerous guy.

Usyk will be a big favorite to beat Chisora

Chisora, #13 WBC, is a good opponent but very beatable. The only that Usyk loses this fight is if he gets caught with a big shot. Other than that, Usyk should have no problems outboxing Chisora in the same way that past heavyweights like Tyson Fury, Agit Kabayel and Kubrat Pulev did in recent years.

Usyk-Chisora will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England. It’ll be shown on DAZN in the U.S, and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk, 33, will be looking show that he belongs at heavyweight in taking his second fight in the division against Chisora. In Usyk’s first fight in the heavyweight division last October, he beat Chazz Witherspoon. Both the performance and the opponent for Usyk were criticized by boxing fans. The 38-year-old Witherspoon is a fighter that was

With all the losses on his record, Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) can’t afford to lose to Usyk. The 36-year-old Chisora may not get another shot at a big fight if he gets beaten by Usyk, because he’s old and he’s a lot more chances than fighters with fewer defeats. A victory for Chisora will put him in place to challenge for the WBO title in late 2020 or in 2021.

Chisora knows he’s going to get hit a lot

“I’m going to have to eat leather, I’m not going to lie to you. And I’m going to eat leather,” said Chisora. “I’m probably going to take five before I get one in there, but it is what it is. I eat that s— for breakfast. The hunger remains and the dedication is the same.”

It’s important that Chisora get in the best shape he can for this fight because he’s going to need to be light on his feet to catch up to Usyk. It’s not going to work for Chisora if he comes into the fight in the 260s, and is too slow and out of condition to catch up to Usyk.

At cruiserweight, Usyk has some fine wins in beating a number of top guys in the division. If Usyk had stayed in the weight class, he’d still likely be the undisputed 4-belt champion, but the paydays wouldn’t be as good. That’s why Usyk moved up obviously. He says wants to unify the heavyweight division, but the huge money Usyk can make played a huge part in him moving up.

Usyk’s best wins at cruiserweight

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

Usyk captured a controversial gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for Ukraine. A lot of boxing fans had Usyk losing to Russia’s Artur Beterbiev, who took the fight to him and landed the better shots.


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