By: Hans Themistode
The questions surrounding Oleksandr Usyk and his run in the heavyweight division are slowly being answered. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion survived a few rough moments early on against fringe contender Dereck Chisora before dancing his way to the finish line this past Saturday night.
Usyk, 33, may have had the advantage in terms of skills, but with his opponent carrying with him a near 40 pound weight advantage into the ring, many wondered how the Ukrainian product would react to a much bigger and stronger man.
However, following a unanimous decision victory, Usyk gave no mention to Chisora’s physical advantages. Instead, he was more so exasperated over what he believes were dirty tactics.
“Dereck was a huge test for me,” said Usyk during a post fight interview with Sky Sports Boxing. “He did so many low blows, elbows and hits to the back of the head but it really made me stronger.”
With a mandatory title challenge already guaranteed to him, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) was never interested in facing Chisora to begin with. Yet, with unified champion Anthony Joshua already married to a title defense against Kubrat Pulev, the Ukrainian risked his mandated title shot in order to keep off the ring rust.
For Joshua, he’s expressed an interest in facing Usyk, but he’s also made it clear that after he takes care of business against Pulev on December 12th, he would much rather unify titles against Tyson Fury. The winner of their highly anticipated matchup would be crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 2000.
Despite the historical significance, Usyk has no intention of sitting on the sidelines.
“I am the mandatory for Anthony Joshua so he has two options. One, to fight me, the other one is to vacate and fight Tyson Fury. Either he fights me or he relinquishes.”
The normally active former Cruiserweight kingpin has been the exact opposite over the past two years. With a number of injuries and a worldwide pandemic slowing down his action in the ring, his contest against Chisora was only his second in two years.
The rust was evident as he appeared uncomfortable early on. With that being said, Usyk believes that the best is yet to come.
“I feel like I can do better. I didn’t box for a year so it took me a little while to warm up. We definitely will do much better in the future.”