Dereck Chisora = Perfect test for Oleksandr Usyk, says Hearn
By Kenneth Friedman: Eddie Hearn view Heavyweight Dereck Chisora as the perfect test for Oleksandr Usyk to show whether he belongs near the top of the heavyweight division.
The Matchroom promoter Hearn says that a win for Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) would be one of the biggest victories for British heavyweight boxing history on Saturday night, as he’s a big underdog against Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs).
A win for Chisora, 36, would make him the new WBO mandatory to champion Anthony Joshua, but he would still need to wait until 2022 before he gets a title shot. Joshua already has plans on facing WBC champion Tyson Fury in early 2021 in April or May.
Hearn says that he plans to speak with the World Boxing Organization to have them delay the mandatory defense due by Joshua against Usyk until after 2021. If the WBO doesn’t allow Joshua to delay his defense against the Usyk vs. Chisora fight winner, AJ will vacate the title.
Chisora or Usyk can grab the vacant WBO title and then look to face the Joshua-Fury winner in 2022.
Usyk with a big test
“I think this is the perfect test for Oleksandr Usyk,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing in talking about his fight with Chisora. “Usyk is one of the greatest fighters of all time.
“Usyk has already boxed here in a massive pay-per-view against Tony Bellew. He did everything at cruiserweight. He became the undisputed champion, the Ring Magazine champion, pound-for-pound king. In the amateurs, he did make some moves in the World Series of Boxing, and he boxed Joe Joyce and these kinds of guys.
“He has operated at that level, but with the small gloves on and the 12 rounds, this is different. I have to say that I love Delboy, and I think he’s a great character, and he’s a great fighter.
“The work that he’s put in for this camp, I’ve not seen anything like it. David Haye has done such a great job. They have put every single ounce into this, and they truly believe they’re going to win,” said Hearn.
Chisora will show whether Usyk has the talent to fight at a high level in the heavyweight division because right now, he’s still a question mark.
The movement that Usyk, 33, is expected to use on Chisora will make it difficult for him to land his shots. We saw less mobile heavyweights like Agit Kabayel and Tyson Fury stymie Chisora’s offense with their movement. If those fighters were able to keep Chisora from getting in position to land, Usyk has a good chance as well.
Oleksandr didn’t perform well in his heavyweight debut
“What we know about Oleksandr Usyk is that he’s a genius with amazing footwork, punch selection, timing, and mental capacity,” Hearn continued. “What we don’t know about him is how tough he is under heavyweight firepower.
“When he boxed Chazz Witherspoon last October, there were a few signs that he didn’t like what was coming back. This guy [Witherspoon] was 18 1/2 stones, and he was nowhere near as good as Dereck Chisora, and he was nowhere near as fast as Dereck Chisora.
“Dereck’s not Anthony Joshua in terms of speed, but he’s still a rapid-fire heavyweight. There’s a lot of questions for Usyk to answer at heavyweight, but what we do know is the guy is an absolute genius.
“He will go down as one of the greatest fighters of our generation. This will be one of the greatest wins for a British fighter of all time if Chisora pulls it off. Certainly, arguably one of the greatest heavyweights wins by a British fighter of all time because Chisora is the underdog.
“But these closed-door environments, they throw up some weird stuff. Usyk said to me a few times, ‘Is there going to be a crowd?’ No. How does he feel about that? Last week, he saw Vasily Lomachenko, his close friend, almost like a brother, trained by his father, get beat.
“These are deep people and deep thinkers. So you have to say that the momentum these last few weeks is with Chisora, but he’s not of the league of Alexander Usyk,” Eddie said.
The 38-year-old Witherspoon landed a lot of shots on Usyk and made it tough on him. Witherspoon wasn’t in shape, and he looked old.
It’s a surprise that Hearn used him as a test opponent for Usyk to make his heavyweight debut against rather than a contender. There might have been some concern by Hearn and Usyk’s management whether he could beat a good heavyweight.
Chisora needs to get in close
“It’s so transparent what he needs to do,” said Hearn about what Chisora. “He needs to find a way to Oleksandr Usyk’s chest and do not stop punching. Make it horrible, make it dirty, and whip them into the arms, the body, and the head, anywhere you need to.
“But it’s easier said than done. Usyk’s footwork is so good, and it’s going to be painful for Chisora. He’s going to get pinged from everywhere from angles that he didn’t know existed.
“But he’s got to just keep at it. The noise in there, all you’re going to hear is David Haye. ‘Do this, Dereck. Yes, Dereck.’ This fight is so important, and everything is on the line on Saturday.
“When you talk about his two fights with Dillian, the first fight could have gone either way,” said Hearn about Chisora. “It was one of the best heavyweight fights I’ve ever seen.
“In the second fight, he was ahead on the points going into the eleventh round. He got chinned and knocked out by a monstrous left hook. Usyk doesn’t punch as hard as Dillian Whyte. That’s unquestionable,” Eddie continued.
It’s obvious what Chisora needs to do for him to win this fight against Oleksandr. He’s got to get in close to the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and try and land his shots.
Hearn thinks it would be a good idea for Chisora to rough Usyk up, and he could be right. Chisora is likely to throw rabbit punches to try and stun Usyk the way he did in his come from behind win over Carlos Takam in 2018.
Dereck takes WBO mandatory spot if he wins
“David Haye is lobbying Paco Valcarcel of the WBO. Oleksandr Usyk is the mandatory to Anthony Joshua,” said Hearn. “If we win, we take that spot. And really, they should.
“Usyk is the #1 heavyweight in the world [with the WBO]. If Chisora wins, he should be the #1 heavyweight in the world. Chisora, he’s made a remarkable turnaround with his career.
“The Carlos Takam victory was unreal when he sparked him. I don’t know if he’s going to win, but what I do know, he will give you everything trying. As a fan, a manager in David Haye and me, that’s all you can ask for in a fighter.
“This guy [Chisora] has put every drop of his soul into this camp. He will leave everything into the ring for you on Saturday night to try and pull off one of the greatest upsets of all time by a British fighter,” Eddie said.
Chisora’s victory will make him the WBO mandatory to Joshua, but he’s still going to need to wait until 2022 to get his title shot. Also, with Chisora now regularly fighting on Sky Box Office pay-per-view, he’s going to need to continue to face high-quality opposition if he wants to stay in that spot.
That means Chisora could lose his WBO mandatory position while waiting for his title shot in 2022.
Sky Sports isn’t going to give Chisora the green light facing weak opposition on Box Office while waiting for a crack at the WBO belt two years from now.
Joshua won’t fight Usyk in 2021
“I want to be as transparent as I can. If Anthony Joshua beats Kubrat Pulev, he wants to beat Tyson Fury,” Hearn said in making it clear that AJ won’t fight Usyk after the Pulev fight.
“I don’t see any fight getting in the way of that. What I do know is if Usyk beats Chisora on Saturday night and Joshua beat Pulev, the ruling states that Joshua should fight Usyk next.
“Now, if Joshua beats Pulev, he will apply to the WBO. ‘I would like to fight Tyson Fury for the undisputed title.’ The WBO can say yes or no. If they say no, then we got to Oleksandr Usyk and say, ‘Will you let this fight take place in April, and maybe we’ll vacate after that.’
“That’s the key. I really want the AJ-Fury fight to be for the undisputed title. I’ve seen comments from their side that belts aren’t important. Belts are important, and they are important to Anthony Joshua.
“He hasn’t accumulated all these belts and paid all these sanctioning fees over the years just to throw them all away.
“The dream has always been to be undisputed, but we also respect Oleksandr Usyk’s position as mandatory challenger.
“AJ would like to fight Usyk as well. He thinks he’s an amazing challenger and a great fighter. But the key to us is beat Kubrat Pulev on December 12th and then fight Tyson Fury. We’ll see where that leaves us with the WBO,” said Hearn.
It’s probably better for Usyk to force his hand by insisting on a title shot in 2021 because that means Joshua will need to vacate his WBO title. Usyk’s earning power will increase if he gets his hands on the WBO heavyweight title.
Instead of Usyk facing the winner of the Joshua vs. Fury fights as a mandatory challenger with the WBO, he would be the world champion. That would mean more money because it would be a unification fight.
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