Usyk looking beyond Chisora, wants Joshua and Fury
By Tim Royner: Oleksandr Usyk wants to unify the heavyweight division by beating Dereck Chisora, then IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua and finally WBC champ Tyson Fury. Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) already unified the cruiserweight division in 2018 in beating Murat Garcia, but now he has a much tougher task in moving up to heavyweight in an attempt to win all 4 titles in that weight class.
Usyk wants to face both Joshua and Fury, but he may not even get past Chisora. That’s the problem.
Usyk faces Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) on May 23 at the O2 Arena in London, England. That fight has a VERY high chance of being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If the fight does wind up a casualty of the fight-postponing virus, then there’s no telling when it’ll be rescheduled. It’ll depend on the duration of the pandemic. Hopefully, Usyk isn’t in a big rush to fight for the WBO heavyweight title in 2020.
“I want to fight both,” said Usyk to skysports.com in saying that he wants to fight both heavyweight champions, Tyson Fury and Joshua.
Usyk not prepared to win world titles at heavyweight
Former cruiserweight champions have moved up to heavyweight in the past to win world titles. One example of that is Evander Holyfield, who moved up to heavyweight after capturing the IBF/WBA/WBC cruiserweight titles. When Holyfield moved up to heavyweight in July 1988, he already had the necessary ingredient [punching power] for him to thrive at the highest levels.
Holyfield went on to win the IBF, WBA and WBC heavyweight titles, but he was a lot more prepared for the division than Usyk. Holyfield was already a big puncher at cruiserweight, and he brought that power with him when he moved up in weight to the heavyweight division.
The southpaw Usyk was a light puncher at cruiserweight and a finesse level fighter. He hasn’t shown power at cruiserweight and he has even less for the heavyweight division. Holyfield looked a lot better than Usyk in his heavyweight debut in stopping a quality fighter in James ‘Quick’ Tillin in the 5th round in July 1988.
At cruiserweight, Usyk won his titles beating these fighters:
- Murata Gassiev – IBF and WBA
- Krzysztof Glowacki – WBO
- Mairis Briedis – WBC
Those are good fighters, but unfortunately, none of them would be able to hold a candle to Fury or Joshua. Not only would Fury and Joshua beat those three guys, but they would do a far better job in beating them than Usyk did.
Usyk had a lot of problems defeating Briedis in a close 12 round majority decision victory in January 2018 in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Joshua and Fury would likely toy with Briedis before knocking him out.
Chisora a tough test for Usyk
The 36-year-old Chisora is a step below the elite level heavyweights in the division, but he’s considerably better than Usyk’s last opponent Chazz Witherspoon, and he’s arguably better than Tony Bellew.
Usyk looked pedestrian against both of those fighters. Usyk had an easy time beating Witherspoon for the most part in their fight five months ago in October, but he was still hit more than he should have. Matchroom Boxing USA wasn’t taking any chances with Usyk.
They made sure that he wasn’t going to get beaten, so they match him against the 38-year-old Witherspoon. What we saw from Usyk in that fight was a guy that is nowhere near the level of Joshua or Fury. So unless Usyk has improved by leaps and bounds since that fight, he’s going to have a lot of trouble dealing with Chisora.
It won’t be surprising if Usyk loses the fight to Chisora. You won’t be able to call it an upset because Chisora is a proven world-class heavyweight.
Assuming the virus sticks around for the remainder of this year, then Usyk will need to wait until 2021 for the title shot. It’s unclear whether Usyk will elect to stick it out with the Chisora fight if it’s postponed too many times.
The issues that Usyk had in defeating Briedis shows how wide of a gulf there is between him and the super heavyweights in the division. That’s why it’s important that Usyk do well against Chisora because this will be his only real fight against a world level heavyweight before he challenges WBO champion Joshua in late 2020 or next year.
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