By Barry Holbrook: Dereck Chisora says he’s going to be giving former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk the “fright of his life” when the two meet up Halloween on October 31st.
This fight is Chisora’s best chance to earn a title shot against WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. If Chisora can pull off an upset against Usyk, he’ll take over as the WBO Mandatory for Joshua and could face him in 2021 or 2022. Chisora is motivated with the idea of taking the WBO spot from Usyk so that he can take on AJ next year or whenever.
Ideally, the Usyk-Chisora winner could fight for the title in 2021. But given that Joshua and Fury are signed to fight twice next year, it’s likely that the Usyk vs. Chisora winner will need to wait until 2022 to get their title shot.
Chisora has the size to win
Former heavyweight world title challenger Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) and Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) will be the main event on Sky Box Office at the Wembley Arena, in Wembley, London, UK.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced that Chisora and Usyk would be one of four big events that will be taking place at the Wembley Arena between October and December.
Hearn hopes that crowds will be allowed back by the time those events occur, but it’s not likely.
Usyk, 33, is the favorite going into the match with the 36-year-old Chisora, and for a good reason. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk has looked better as a pro than Chisora, and he’s fought at a higher level.
What Chisora has going for him is his size, power, and experience at heavyweight. Usyk has fought just once at heavyweight since moving up in weight last October, and he’s not fought anyone talented yet.
He moved up in weight and defeated 38-year-old Chaz Witherspoon by a seventh-round knockout last October on DAZN in Chicago, Illinois.
That was a so-so performance by Usyk, as he had to earn every bit of real estate against Witherspoon, who didn’t make it easy for him. After the contest was over, Usyk looked like he’d been in a real dog fight, and he was marked up more than Witherspoon.
Hearn hopes for crowds to be allowed for Wembley
“Whilst we have decided to proceed with these huge nights without a crowd, we are working hard with The SSE Arena, Wembley, and the authorities to try and bring fans back safely during this period,” said Eddie Hearn about his hopes to bring crowds back for the Wembley events.
“On October 31st, Oleksandr Usyk is going to get the fright of his life. War!” said Chisora to Matchroom Boxing. “II remember watching ESPN a long time ago, and what’s his name said, ‘If he’s a good manager, he shouldn’t put you in with southpaws.’ Guess what?
“I’ve boxed three southpaws since I’ve been with David Haye. Oleksandr is a good fighter. He’s loved by English fans and those who love boxing and don’t know boxing that loves watching him. Plus, he’s fighting myself. So there’s nothing bad about this fight,” Chisora said.
Chisora will need to fight at a fast pace and not slow down if he wants to win. Mairis Briedis came close to defeating Usyk when the two fought at cruiserweight in 2018. If Briedis hadn’t run out of gas in the second half of the fight, he’d have beaten Usyk.
Chisora could be more negatively affected by fighting without a crowd than Usyk, considering someone who fights with adrenalin. He gets a lot of energy from the crowds in the UK.
With Usyk, he’ll be at home fighting without fans because he’s had many amateur fights in front of small crowds, and it won’t be anything different for him to be competing without fans.
No animosity between Chisora and Usyk
“There’s no hatred or nothing. This is all the love of the sport,” Chisora said on there not being any animosity with Usyk.
“He wants to claim to be at the top of the food chain. So he needs to know that he has to box a heavyweight.
“It’s going to be hard for both, for him and myself,” Chisora said of Oleksandr Usyk. “It’s not going to be easy.
“If you’re used to boxing in front of thirty thousand or fifty thousand and you get in that ring, and you’re boxing with only the judges and the promoter and the managers and the part of the team, it’s going to be hard,” said Dereck.
Usyk never has bad blood with his opponents. That’s not the way he is. He treats boxing as a sport and doesn’t personalize it how some fighters do during the build-up to their fights.
Usyk doesn’t have real experience at heavyweight, and you can argue that this will be his first true test in the weight class. At cruiserweight, Usyk fought several fighters with power on the level of heavyweights, and he took care of those fighters relatively easily.
Chisora is a bigger puncher than most of the guys that Uyk fought at cruiserweight, and he’s someone that will keep coming forward looking to knock him out. Usyk will likely get on his bike and stay away from Chisora.
The game plan that Usyk used to defeat Murat Gassiev likely won’t work against Chisora because he’s not going to hold back his punches just because he’s throwing repeated jabs in his face.
Chisora on a seek and destroy mission
“I’m not going to lie to you. Listen, it’s going to be a fight,” Chisora said. “The guy is going to throw the kitchen sink at me,” Chisora said about Usyk. I’m just going to bite on that gum shield and just let God take over.
“I’m coming what’s happening in the world right now. Everybody is suffering. So I can’t be selfish and say, ‘I’m not going to do this.’ Everybody is in the same boat.
“If I could do a fight and people could have the enjoyment for the next week or when the build-up is happening, that’s amazing fr people to forget all their troubles.
“Seek and destroy with no mercy, that’s what we’re aiming for,” Chisora said about his philosophy for his match with Usyk.
There’s no better time than now for Chisora to be on a seek and destroy mission because he’s going to need it for him to have a shot at beating Usyk. Chisora isn’t going to outbox the southpaw Usyk to win a points decision.
He’s not skilled enough for fast enough to beat Oleksandr by a decision without dropping him several times.
It’s noble of Chisora to have agreed to face Usyk without a crowd because he’s not going to make the same kind of money he would have if they had a live crowd at their Wembley arena fight.
Hearn still thinks a crowd may be allowed for the October 31st Usyk-Chisora fight, but that’s more of a pipe dream. We’re less than two weeks away from October 31st, and the number of cases for COVID-19 is increasing, which doesn’t bode well for that contest taking place in front of fans.
It would be too risky for the UK government to allow boxing fans back in by the time Usyk and Chisora fight on October 31st.