Eddie Hearn talks Oleksandr Usyk win over Dereck Chisora

By Boxing News - 11/01/2020 - Comments

By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn says he personally had the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora fight very close last Saturday night at the Wembley Arena in London, UK. Although Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) got the ‘W’ with the judges giving a 12 round unanimous decision, some of the people watching it live at the Arena saw Chisora winning.

Hearn says that even Alex Krassyuk and Egis Klimas from Usyk’s team had it close. Eddie felt that Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) pushed the fight and was the aggressor, which should have counted for more. Usyk got the win by the scores 115-113, 115-113, and 117-112.

Hearn made no mention of a rematch between Chisora and Usyk, so we have to assume the two will go their separate ways. Usyk, 33, has already said that he will insist on using his WBO mandatory status to challenge the title next against champion Anthony Joshua.

He won’t accept a step aside payment so that Joshua can face WBC champ Tyson Fury in the first half of 2021. With Usyk taking that stance, we have to wait and see what Joshua decides to do if he gets by his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev on December 12th.

Joshua might choose to hold onto his WBO title by defending against Usyk, who he now likely views as less of a threat to him.

Image: Eddie Hearn talks Oleksandr Usyk win over Dereck Chisora

Bellew and Haye scored it for Chisora

“I haven’t felt so much energy for the main event. I was shaking,” said Hearn to IFL TV about the Usyk vs. Chisora fight. “David Haye, who was right next to me, thought Chisora won the fight. Bellew thought Chisora won the fight.

“Even Egis [Klimas] and Alex [Krassyuk], and they’re Team Usyk. I have to watch it back, but I felt that Chisora won the first three or four rounds out of five.

“So do you not give him another round or two after that? I gave him the eleventh. Usyk was landing the cleaner shots for the majority of the fight. But I just felt that Delboy was forcing the fight, but maybe I got a bit carried away with the story and the momentum?

“It was a really good fight for Usyk because it was hard for him. He did six rounds in two rounds. After the first round, he looked like he’d been swung around like a rag doll.

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“He came back to the corner like, ‘What’s going on here?’ You’ve got to give a huge amount of respect to Chisora because he fought a pound-for-pound great and pushed him all the way,” said Hearn.

Many people who watched the fight liked what they saw from Usyk, but he gave away a lot of important rounds in the first half of the fight. Chisora appeared to win at least four of the first six rounds.

Chisora fought well enough to win an additional two in the last six rounds with those rounds under his belt. As Hearn points out, the eleventh round was definitely a Chisora round.

Image: Eddie Hearn talks Oleksandr Usyk win over Dereck Chisora

The fight can have been scored a draw or a close win for Usyk at 115-113, which is the score two of the judges had it. The third judges’ score of 117-112 seemed too wide.

AJ believes he’ll knockout Usyk

“I think he had it close as well. He wasn’t sure,” Hearn said when asked how Anthony Joshua scored the Usyk-Chisora fight. “I think my old man had Usyk by a round or something like that.

“Yeah, maybe,” Hearn said about the World Boxing Organization potentially ordering Joshua to defend against Usyk next. “If we can’t make the Fury fight, and I don’t see that situation happening at all, AJ will fight Usyk.

“A lot of people will be saying, ‘Ah, Fury and AJ won’t be bothered about Usyk.’ He’s a brilliant fighter. Don’t worry about that. Styles make fights, but AJ believes he knocks Usyk out and I’m sure Fury feels the same.

“Usyk is a brilliant fighter, a pound-for-pound quality fighter. AJ, all he wants to do is beat Kubrat Pulev and then fight Tyson Fury. If that doesn’t happen for some reason, he’d go and fight Usyk without problems,” said Hearn.

Joshua would be a massive favorite to beat Usyk off of this performance from him against Chisora. It doesn’t look good that Usyk didn’t dominate Chisora because he was facing a fringe contender and not a highly ranked fighter.

The way that Usyk looked in his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon last year in October, you could tell that he would have problems once he faced his first defense heavyweight.

Image: Eddie Hearn talks Oleksandr Usyk win over Dereck Chisora

You can argue that Usyk’s ceiling as a heavyweight is Dereck Chisora. Anyone above the Chisora level will probably beat Usyk, and someone like Joshua or Fury would knock him out unless they faded.

No crowds for a year

“We’re probably going to go a year without a crowd,” Hearn said. “It’s tens of millions of pounds of revenue that has just evaporated into the air. We’re finding a way.

“We do a pay-per-view, and every time we’re holding our breath. We probably will,” Hearn said when told that it might be a good idea to stage the Joshua vs. Pulev fight at the Wembley Arena.

“If we can’t get a crowd at the O2 and we have everything set here. He [Joshua] came to me and said, ‘It’s weird in here, isn’t it?’ And I said, ‘It’s great.’ It’s like what I said to Usyk, ‘Your whole career can fall apart with no one here.’

“That’s what’s so dramatic about it, and I worry about my fighters fighting in this environment because they might do better in front of a crowd. But guess what? Tough s***, it ain’t happening.

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“So what are you going to do sulk about it? No, we roll up our sleeves and we crack on. The only thing that matters is we keep on breathing.

“This business is a game. What we’re going to do is go a year without crowds, and we’re all going to be locked into a hotel for a week.

“Hundreds of people in a hotel for six days, paying for their rooms, paying for their food, paying for their transportation, paying for their flight, and paying for their testing at 130 quid per pop per test. I mean, it’s a nightmare.

“I think it was a great main event and a great card,” said Hearn.

If everything goes well in 2021, crowds could come back, and that’s something many boxing fans are looking forward to.

It probably won’t come in time for Joshua’s next match against Kubrat Pulev on December 12th, though, but Hearn isn’t expecting fans to be back for that one.