David Haye Believes Oleksandr Usyk Has Virtually No Chance Against Anthony Joshua: “It’s Going To Be Pretty Devastating”
By: Hans Themistode
Plenty are split down the middle in terms of how they view the heavyweight clash between unified champion Anthony Joshua and former undisputed cruiserweight king, Oleksandr Usyk.
With Usyk’s ability to outbox and outthink his opponents, rather than outmuscle them, there is a belief that no matter how big Joshua’s hulking muscles are, he’ll have a difficult time landing something significant.
Even as Joshua is currently the betting favorite, an easy night at the office isn’t widely expected. That is, unless you ask former heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, David Haye.
“Not much,” said Haye when asked how much trouble Usyk can give Joshua on September 25th during an interview with IFL TV. “I think if Anthony Joshua decides to have a tit for tat boxing match like just jabbing and trying to score points, then he’d have some trouble but he’s not stupid enough to do that.”
Joshua, 31, has seldom attempted to win his contests on the judge’s scorecards. Having wiped out 22 of his 25 career opponents before the final bell has rung, the British native has a propensity to leave nothing to chance.
In his most recent ring appearance, Joshua placed more of his killer mindset on display. In December of 2020, the British native took on then mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev. Despite claiming that Joshua’s title reign was going to end in brutal fashion, it was Pulev who was on the wrong end of a one-sided beating. The Bulgarian would hit the mat a total of three times before being stopped in the ninth round.
While Joshua impressed a populous crowd at Wembley Arena, Usyk, 34, was unafraid of what lies ahead.
After picking up every world title in the cruiserweight division, Usyk’s time as a heavyweight hasn’t been as successful.
Having watched Usyk struggle with much bigger and stronger opponents in Chazz Witherspoon and more recently, Dereck Chisora, Haye isn’t only convinced that Joshua is going to pick him apart but he also envisions exactly how it’ll happen.
“He’s going to use his beautiful jab, his height and reach advantage, size, and weight advantage, and his punch power advantage. He’s just better all around. It’s going to be pretty devastating.”
Bob Arum “Rooting” For Oleksandr Usyk To Dethrone Anthony Joshua
By: Hans Themistode
Whenever Bob Arum lays his eyes on unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, they immediately fill with dollar signs. The long-time promoter knows good and well that Joshua represents a massive payday for himself, his promotional company Top Rank, and of course, WBC/Ring Magazine heavyweight titlist, Tyson Fury.
Just a few short months ago, Arum believed he had a deal in place that would pit Joshua and Fury in the ring against one another on a two-fight contract. Their undisputed title fight was set to take place on the other side of the world in Saudi Arabia. Yet, with Fury contractually mandated to take on Deontay Wilder instead, Joshua has also moved on to facing WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, on September 25th.
Under normal circumstances, Arum would be screaming at the top of his lungs in support of Joshua. With tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars on the line, the long-time promoter would be crossing his fingers in the hopes that Joshua makes it the dance floor against Fury. However, with Usyk holding a special place in the heart of Arum, the 89-year-old promoter is hoping the highly touted Ukrainian gets the job done.
“Usyk is a friend of mine because he is Vasiliy Lomachenko’s friend,” said Arum during an interview with Sky Sports. “He is a terrific guy, funny, articulate and smart. It is against my economic interest, but I will be rooting for [Usyk] in the fight. I just can’t help myself.”
While Arum doesn’t promote Usyk, he does share a close connection with Lomachenko, one of Arum’s top fighters. Both men captured gold in the 2012 Olympics, the heavyweight division for Usyk and the lightweight division for Lomachenko.
Currently, despite pulling for Usyk, the pound-for-pound star has opened up as a sizable underdog. Not only does the betting market favor Joshua but many in the boxing community also believe the gargantuan heavyweight champion will get the job done.
In Usyk’s most recent trip to the ring, the Ukrainian took on fringe contender Dereck Chisora. While the former cruiserweight king may have eked out a close unanimous decision victory, the British native was left unimpressed with his opponent.
“Joshua will run through Usyk,” said Chisora following their contest. “He doesn’t have any power at all.”
As for Joshua, the 31-year-old has been hard at work as he prepares to deal with the technical boxing ability of Usyk. The unified titlist was last seen in the ring in December of 2020 against Kubrat Pulev. Joshua had little to no trouble dealing with his man, dropping him a total of four times before ultimately ending his night in the ninth.
Anthony Joshua On Oleksandr Usyk Showdown: “Hustlers Always Meet At The Top”
By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Joshua no longer wants to play the what-if game.
The reigning unified heavyweight titlist was anxious to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an undisputed champion. By all accounts, Joshua was on the verge of having his opportunity to do just that. With that said, he was forced to wait once negotiations between himself and WBC/Ring Magazine belt holder, Tyson Fury, broke down.
Now, with Oleksandr Usyk set to face him on September 25th, Joshua has quickly shunned away from the disappointment he felt when his showdown against Fury failed to go through. But while he’s putting Fury on the back burner of his mind, Joshua still has him in his peripheral vision.
“He’s good and that’s all I could really say,” said Joshua when asked about his matchup with Usyk during an interview with Sky Sports Boxing. “He’s good but I need to be better. He’s a great challenger for the heavyweight titles and I’m looking to handle business. I have my eyes on other things.”
For Joshua, a matchup against Usyk feels somewhat predestined. Long before the Ukrainian captured every world title in the cruiserweight division, the pound for pound star was dominating the competition in the unpaid ranks. While his amateur record of 335-15 was impressive, Usyk’s crowning achievement, before turning professional, was winning gold during the 2012 Olympics in the heavyweight division.
Joshua, of course, has his own vivid memories of those same Olympic Games, taking home a gold medal in the super heavyweight division. As the current unified heavyweight champion stood on that Olympic podium next to Usyk with matching gold medals hanging from around their necks, he knew, that although their amateur paths were vastly different, that one day, they would face off in the ring.
“I got mines in a short amount of time. From the day I walked into the gym, to getting to the Olympics and winning, three and a half years. He’s had a long and vast amateur career. He got that gold as well. We both been on that trajectory as professionals. It just shows that the hustlers always meet at the top.”
Anthony Joshua Vs. Oleksandr Usyk Officially Set For September 25th
By: Hans Themistode
After spending the past few months telling the public that Anthony Joshua would take on mandatory challenger, Oleksandr Usyk, fans patiently waited for an official fight date from promoter Eddie Hearn. Now, after finalizing the entirety of their deal, both the where and when have been revealed.
“Olympic Gold vs. Olympic Gold, Unified World Heavyweight Champion vs. Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion. This one has it all and I can’t wait to stage this huge event in front of over 60,000 at the stunning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25,” said Eddie Hearn.
Since nabbing every world title in the cruiserweight division, Usyk, 34, has bided his time for a shot at heavyweight gold. Once the Ukrainian achieved all of the goals he set out for himself in the cruiserweight division, he made the trek to the land of the big men in 2018. Although he was placed as the mandatory challenger, Usyk was still forced to wait.
First, the former unified cruiserweight champion stepped aside and allowed Joshua to have an immediate rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. From there, Usyk was forced to cede ground to then IBF mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev. With Joshua winning both contests, the Ukrainian was willing to wait once more, this time, in favor of a proposed undisputed showdown between Joshua and WBC/Ring Magazine titlist, Tyson Fury.
However, Usyk’s recent generosity wasn’t needed as negotiations between Joshua and Fury broke down. Now, with no one standing in line before him, Usyk pursued his long awaited showdown. Since making the move to heavyweight, Usyk has gotten his feet wet with a pair of fringe contenders in Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora, defeating them both.
With Joshua and Usyk claiming gold in the 2012 Olympics, heavyweight division for Usyk and super heavyweight for Joshua, the current unified titlist is anxious to step back into the limelight and test his skills against his fellow Olympian.
“The date is set and we are fully locked in,” said Joshua. “September 25, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I put it all on the line again and it’s time to defend my crown. We are two Olympic Gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges. The stadium is exceptional, the atmosphere will be electric, I’m honoured to be the first person to fight in such an awe-inspiring venue. The stage is set and I am ready to handle business.”
Anthony Joshua: “At The End Of September Is When I’ll Be Taking On The Former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Of The World”
By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Joshua always tries to play it cool. The current unified heavyweight titlist rarely shows his emotions but following the fallout of his undisputed showdown against Tyson Fury, Joshua was visibly apoplectic.
While Joshua believed he had a deal in place to face Fury, Deontay Wilder swooped in and seized the showdown right from underneath his nose. The two will now face off on July 24th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Forced to change course, Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) is now deep in negotiations with mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk. Currently, a few small wrinkles are still being ironed out between both sides but Joshua is firmly of the belief that the Ukrainian will be his next dance partner. Although an official contract hasn’t been signed, Joshua let the cat out of the bag in terms when he expects to face the former Olympic gold medalist.
“I wanted to go like August but change of opponent, completely different style, the team said push it back a little bit, prepare properly,” said Joshua during an interview with Sky Sports Boxing. “This is a fight I need to win because I was at the final destination on that road to undisputed but now we have a pit stop we have to make with Usyk. At the end of September is when I’ll be taking on the former undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.”
While the fallout between Joshua and Fury was ultimately disappointing to most of the boxing world, to Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), it was music to his ears. Ever since winning all four major world titles in the cruiserweight division in 2018, Usyk has attempted to make his mark in the land of the big men. In October of 2019, Usyk easily stopped journeymen Chazz Witherspoon. He then followed that up with a close unanimous decision victory over the rough and rugged Dereck Chisora.
The wins may have allowed him to get acclimated to fighting bigger men, but it hasn’t brought about ringing endorsements regarding his future in the division. For example, shortly after his defeat, Chisora claimed that Usyk has “no power” and has “no chance” against the upper echelon of the weight class. In the mind of Joshua, he echoes those sentiments, at least to a certain extent. Regardless of the countless world titles Usyk has won in a lower weight class and despite his amateur pedigree, when questioned about the danger that Usyk presents to him in the ring, Joshua didn’t stammer when answering.
“None,” continued Joshua. “I fear none of them. He don’t bring nothing I ain’t seen before. Two hands, two legs, a brain and a bit of heart. He’s a good fighter, I’m challenging myself in training. So yeah, let’s get it on.”
Alexander Krassyuk, Manager Of Oleksandr Usyk, Sits down With BoxingInsider.com To Discuss Usyk’s Immediate Future
By: Hans Themistode
The heavyweight division was slowly evolving from a jumbled mess to a much clearer picture. By all accounts, WBC/Ring Magazine titlist, Tyson Fury, was set to take on unified champion Anthony Joshua this coming Summer.
Those plans, of course, were recently derailed as former belt holder Deontay Wilder has effectively moved ahead of Joshua and will now face Fury in a third showdown between the pair thanks to arbitrator Daniel Weinstein. But while most of the boxing world has grown apoplectic with the postponement of Joshua vs Fury, heavyweight contender Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) couldn’t stop himself from smiling.
The Ukrainian native has long been awaiting his chance to fulfill his own dreams of becoming a heavyweight belt holder. Even with a mandated position by the WBO, Usyk reluctantly moved out of the way to allow their undisputed showdown to take place while he, in turn, would face former amateur rival, Joe Joyce.
Although it’s been mostly mums the word behind the scenes, both team Usyk and Joyce have dealt with a number of speed bumps along the way to making their showdown a reality. Now, however, with Fury out of the picture, Usyk doesn’t see the value in staying the course.
“We were going through negotiations with Joe Joyce’s team,” said Alexander Krassyuk, manager of Usyk to BoxingInsider.com during a recent interview. “But, things were not going so smoothly financially. According to our calculations, the percentage of the purse split was 93% to 7% in favor of Usyk. But, the WBO ruling was that a fighter cannot receive less than 20%. Joyce’s team went to the grievance committee of the WBO and said that 80-20 was not fair. We were supposed to have the hearing but it makes more sense for Usyk to fight the champion, Anthony Joshua. I’m in negotiations with Eddie Hearn to put a date together and put the figures together.”
For as badly as Usyk wants to wrap heavyweight gold around his waist, Krassyuk believes his fighter has been more than fair. Time and time again, the former Olympic gold medalist shoved his dreams to the side in order to placate the wishes of Joshua.
In a bid not to stir the pot, Krassyuk details the long two-year wait his Ukrainian star endured.
“We gave Joshua many breaks,” explained Krassyuk. “If you take a look back at 2019, Usyk was appointed the mandatory when Andy Ruiz was the champion but Usyk allowed AJ to have the rematch with Ruiz. After AJ got back his belts, the immediate mandatory clause was sanctioned by the WBO. The IBF sanctioning body and Kubrat Pulev were also mandatory and they were in that position before us so we made a deal. We agreed to fight Dereck Chisora, they would give us some step aside money, Joshua would fight Pulev and we would get to fight Joshua next. Then, of course, AJ and Fury decided they wanted to fight and we were willing to allow a third fight for AJ but now, I believe it’s our turn.”
Throughout it all, Usyk has remained both patient and inactive. At one point, Krassyuk remembers a time where Usyk seemingly slept in the gym and fought stellar competition frequently. Now, through no fault of his own, the pound-for-pound star has spent more of his time sequestered on the sidelines due to various reasons. Since moving up to the heavyweight division in 2019, Usyk has only fought twice. Once, against the previously mentioned Chisora and just before that, against journeymen Chazz Witherspoon.
Normally following his ring appearances, Usyk’s skills are heavily praised. Yet, with two lackluster performances, many have given him an incredulous look as they have questioned whether or not he has the physicality and aggression to excel at the next level. Answering that question with an emphatic no, was former opponent, Dereck Chisora.
“He didn’t have any power,” said Chisora following his defeat to Usyk. “AJ would eat him up, Fury would eat him up. His style of boxing isn’t made for the heavyweights.”
A back and forth argument between Krassyuk and Chisora may entertain fans, but the long-time manager has no interest in doing so. All he asks is that Chisora and everyone else who doubts Usyk for that matter, simply take a look at his resume.
“Usyk is an elite fighter, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, former cruiserweight undisputed champion, he is elite.”
At the moment, the heavyweight division is mostly viewed as a three horse race. As Wilder, Joshua and Fury are all routinely mentioned near the top of the weight class, Krassyuk is firmly under the belief that Uysk will soon be given the opportunity to prove that he is a step above them all. While he remains confident that his long-time star will pick up the win no matter whom he faces, Krassyuk does acknowledge that although they are all tough fights, one of those three fighters could prove to be the toughest fight of Usyk’s career.
“I think he’s going to fight all of those guys but Fury would probably be the toughest fight.”
Joe Joyce Believes He Knows When Oleksandr Usyk Clash Will Take Place: “It’s Looking Like April”
By: Hans Themistode
Joe Joyce truly enjoyed his tenth round stoppage victory over Daniel Dubois. However, the moment his hand was raised in victory, the British native immediately moved on to his next goal, winning the heavyweight title.
At the moment, Joyce’s championship dreams will have to wait as unified champion Anthony Joshua and WBC/Ring magazine titlist in Tyson Fury have nearly come to terms on a two-fight deal. While Joyce could opt to wait on the sidelines until he’s given a title shot, the former Olympic Silver medalist is nearing a fight deal of his own to take on Oleksandr Usyk with the interim WBO title on the line.
“It’s looking like April,” said Joyce when asked when he expects to take on Usyk during a recent interview with BT Sports. “Negotiations are going well and it looks like the fight is lining up quite nicely. It’s almost confirmed.”
Usyk, 34, currently holds the WBO’s number one spot in the rankings. His shot at the winner of Joshua vs Fury is all but guaranteed unless he comes up short against Joyce in their showdown. Although nothing has been finalized, Usyk is expected to walk into their contest as the betting favorite. Usyk’s perceived advantage over Joyce not only stems from his undisputed title reign in the Cruiserweight ranks and his unblemished record but also a 2013 win Usyk scored over Joyce as an amateur.
While it may have been eight years ago, Joyce hasn’t forgotten that faithful night. In fact, Joyce is using it as a motivating factor as he believes that the first time they tangled was a lifetime ago and that he is a completely different fighter compared to then.
“His skills were like next level. He was really on fire,” said Joyce when reminiscing of their first matchup. “I’ve learned a lot since then. He’s bulked up in size a bit but has lost a bit of speed so I’ve kind of caught up to him.”
Whether Joyce has actually caught up with Usyk or not is a question that will be answered on fight night. But according to the powerful heavyweight contender, he believes he knows good and well what it will take to usurp his man once they face off in the ring.
Getting into a boxing match is something Joyce will avoid doing. Instead, he’ll look to use his hulking six-feet six-inch frame to impose his will and punish Usyk over the course of 12 rounds.
“With the pro gloves, I have the power to stop him. I just have to catch up to him and don’t let him cut off the ring too much. He’s a tough person to land a shot on. I’ve got to hit him on the nose, body, the arms, legs – he’s not going to like it.”
Joe Joyce “Looks Forward” To Oleksandr Usyk Clash
By: Hans Themistode
Joe Joyce was happy as can be the moment he took down the highly touted heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois in late November last year. Coming into their showdown, Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) was given little to no chance of getting the job done. However, following a rough start, the British native forced Dubois to take a knee before ultimately stopping his man with a persistent jab which left his left orbital bone completely shattered.
Shortly after the win, Joyce saw his ranking in the WBO sanctioning body soar to number two in the world. With unified champion Anthony Joshua and WBC/Ring magazine belt holder Tyson Fury currently deep in negotiations on a two-fight deal, Joyce could be forced to take on number one ranked contender Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO interim title.
While Joyce would love to face either Joshua or Fury instead, the former Olympic Silver medalist wouldn’t mind getting a bit of revenge against a man who schooled him on the amateur scene nearly a decade ago.
“Yeah definitely,” said Joyce to IFL TV when asked if he wants to face Usyk next. “I look forward to it. It was a great fight the first fight and the rematch is going to be even better. I think I picked up more skills along the way. I’ve been in the sport for a lot longer now. I think Usyk is putting a bit more weight on power-wise and I think it just has the makings of a great fight.”
In January of 2013, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) dominated Joyce during an amateur tournament, winning all five rounds on the night. In terms of excuses, Joyce made none as he admitted that Usyk was the better man. With that being said, Joyce believes he’s a completely different fighter now.
“It was all action for five rounds but I’ve picked up a lot of skills since then. Most importantly, he’s going to have to deal with me for 12 rounds, not five.”
The potential to score a bit of revenge is a driving factor for the heavyweight contender. But more than anything, Joyce is fully aware that a win over his amateur rival will place him in an ideal position moving forward.
“For the winner, they have a chance to potentially fight the winner of Fury vs AJ. There’s nothing bigger than fighting for the undisputed crown.”
Oleksandr Usyk vs Joe Joyce In “Preliminary Talks”
By: Hans Themistode
Oleksandr Usyk’s train to a heavyweight world title is apparently about to make an unexpected stop. The former undisputed cruiserweight titlist has long been awaiting his chance at facing unified champion, Anthony Joshua.
With a win in his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) followed that up with another victory against fringe contender Dereck Chisora. While both wins may have allowed him to get acclimated to fights against bigger men, considering he became the WBO’s number one ranked contender the moment he moved up in weight, Usyk never needed to face anyone other than Joshua in his first official contest as a heavyweight.
Still, the former Olympic gold medalist appeared on track to challenge Joshua for his world title. However, both Joshua and WBC/Ring magazine belt holder Tyson Fury are on the verge of papering a two-fight deal, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. With the likelihood of Usyk waiting even longer for his shot at a world title, promoter Frank Warren is currently working on something that would placate the impatient big man.
“We’re working on, at the moment, Usyk and Joe Joyce,” said Warren during an interview with IFL TV. “I think the WBO will order that as an interim-title fight so we’re working hard to make that happen. The situation is that the WBO have said they’d like to do that fight as an eliminator. We have no objection to that and I don’t think Usyk has either. There’s been some preliminary talks and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Joyce, a 2016 Olympic Silver medalist, is currently riding the high associated with the biggest win of his pro career. On November 28th, just last year, Joyce handed highly-touted previously undefeated prospect Daniel Dubois the first defeat of his career via 10th round stoppage.
Despite the win, along with the success he’s obtained during his short career, Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) still has an ax to grind with Usyk. In January of 2013, before either man turned professional, they faced off at the World Series of Boxing. On the night, Usyk dominated his man winning every single round.
Regardless of their previous outcome, Warren views Joyce as a completely different fighter. In addition to that, the long time promoter believes the British native has all of the momentum in the world.
“It’s a good fight and based on his last performance, Joe’s looking really good. It puts the winner in a tremendous position. The eventual winner of the two fights between Tyson and AJ will have to defend against Joyce or Usyk, or vacate the belt.”
Alexander Krassyuk, manager Of Oleksandr Usyk, Expects Him To Challenge For A World Title This Spring
By: Hans Themistode
Oleksandr Usyk just can’t seem to process why there has been so much buzz surrounding the possibility of an undisputed heavyweight contest between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. Mainly because he isn’t moving off his WBO mandated title shot.
“Usyk is the WBO mandatory,” said Alexander Krassyuk, the manager of Usyk. “ He never gave his consent for the [Joshua vs Fury] bout to happen without him.”
With a dominant run in the Cruiserweight division, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) recently made the move to the land of the heavies. The Ukrainian has found the much larger men that he’s now routinely facing to be far more challenging. On Halloween night last year, Usyk struggled mightily with the aggression and pressure of fringe contender Dereck Chisora.
Although it was a much more difficult fight than originally expected, Krassyuk isn’t expecting his man to be fighting for anything less than a world title in his next ring appearance.
“Usyk is in good condition now,” explained Krassyuk. “He successfully recovered from his last fight and looks forward to challenging for the title this spring.”
Fighting for a world title is one thing, but facing Anthony Joshua is something else entirely. For years now, Usyk has mentioned Joshua as one of his dream fights. Be that as it may, Joshua could be preoccupied with multiple contests against Tyson Fury.
At the moment, no one has officially offered team Usyk a step aside deal in order for Joshua vs Fury to take place with the undisputed crown on the line. While there have been discussions of placating the former Cruiserweight kingpin, Krassyuk simply hopes that his man’s title aspirations aren’t pushed to the side.
“There were talks about an interim title or the AJ vs Fury winner relinquishing the WBO title the next day [after they fight]. A non-title fight has never been under discussion and I really hope it will never be.”
Dereck Chisora On Oleksandr Usyk: “He’s Not A Scare In The Heavyweight Division”
By: Hans Themistode
Heavyweight contender Oleksandr Usyk has been built up to be some sort of monster. With the first five years of his career spent at the cruiserweight division, Usyk became known as not only a skillful boxer but also a belt collector.
Over the span of two years, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) captured every single world title in the cruiserweight division. His subsequent move up in weight has yet to bring him a world title but the results are all the same. Meaning, a tally in the win column.
While the victories continue to pile up, former Usyk opponent in Dereck Chisora doesn’t view him as the monster many depict him as. In fact, after taking several of his shots flush on the chin, the 37-year-old could only describe his opponent in one way.
“The guy can’t punch,” said Usyk to IFL TV during a recent interview. “To be honest, he’s not a scare in the heavyweight division. Physically he’s not strong. I ate one of his best shots and it didn’t bother me. His output is good but he has no power.”
Chisora’s criticism of Usyk doesn’t come from an outsider’s perspective but from first-hand experience. On October 31st, in Wembley Arena, Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) was given a crack at the former undisputed cruiserweight champion. Heading into their showdown, the prevailing thought surrounding their matchup was that Usyk would win a comfortable decision on the judge’s scorecards. However, the physicality of Chisora proved to be a much bigger issue as Usyk had difficulty adjusting to the British contender’s aggressive style.
Following 12 evenly fought rounds, Usyk managed to eke out a close decision victory. Unlike past defeats where Chisora would simply brush his shortcomings under the rug and move forward, the loss to Usyk is still something that visibly irritates him.
“All he did was run away. I was very disappointed. I thought we were in the professional game, not the amateurs. I pushed the fight, chased the fight, I did everything in the fight. All he did was run away.”
Despite Chisora placing Usyk towards the bottom of the barrel in terms of heavyweight contenders, the 37-year-old does believe that the former cruiserweight kingpin has one trick up his sleeve that will allow him to bank wins against the elite of the heavyweight division.
“With his movement, he would Dillian (Whyte). He would beat Joe Joyce. It’s his movement. If you’re not prepared for that movement then he’s going to walk all over you. He doesn’t have much power but if you don’t prepare for the movement then it’s going to be a long night for you.”
Oleksandr Usyk, Not Tyson Fury, Should Be Next For Anthony Joshua
By: Hans Themistode
It’s the sexy matchup. The one that everyone talks about and quite frankly, it makes a ton of sense.
The first trip to the canvas allowed boxing fans to crack a slight smile. The second and third brought about a full grin. As unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua landed the finishing blow on mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, fans across the world screamed in excitement before his 39-year-old body hit the canvas. It wasn’t just because Joshua’s one-punch knockout was captivating, but more so because of what it signified. An undisputed title fight with fellow champion Tyson Fury.
Not since Lennox Lewis’s 1999 win over Evander Holyfield has there been an undisputed heavyweight champion. By all accounts, both Joshua and Fury not only want the fight but are begging for it to happen next. With Pulev sitting in an emergency room concussed and former WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder on the outside looking in, both Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum, their respective promoters, have stated that they will sit down to talk immediately about putting together a two-fight deal.
But while Joshua, Fury, Hearn and Arum open the doors to begin negotiations, a six feet four inch, one-time Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed cruiserweight champion in Oleksandr Usyk stands in the way.
In the land of the heavy hitters, Usyk’s defensive/box first style has never appeared to be a true fit. During his brief time as a cruiserweight, Usyk could get away with outboxing his man and racking up the points on the judge’s scorecards as opposed to ending things with one deleterious blow. Yet, with wins over Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellow – there was nothing left for him to do. His waist and shoulders were draped in cruiserweight gold. But the challenges were few and far between.
With nothing more to prove, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) moved up to the heavyweight division. A place where fighters often stomp and announce their presence demonstratively. For Usyk however, he tiptoed through and made his mark in a much different way.
In October of 2018, Usyk officially made his debut, pitty patting late replacement Chazz Witherspoon before ultimately stopping him in the seventh. Roughly one year later, Usyk would return to the ring yet again. This time against fringe contender Dereck Chisora. Unable to make a dent in his man, Usyk would settle for a close decision victory.
Criticism of his power has been the narrative surrounding his heavyweight ventures. No one wants to watch a big man dance around his opponent, make him miss, potshot him, wash and repeat for 12 rounds before cruising to a win on the judge’s scorecards. There has always been one theme when discussing heavyweight boxing.
One punch can end it all.
That of course, doesn’t apply to Usyk. Still, his shot at a world title was earned with his work one weight class lower. But with year number three approaching on his heavyweight trip, the soon to be 34-year-old is still awaiting his shot at a world title. Something that should have been granted to him the moment he landed in his new division.
Like any weight class, once a champion vacates his titles in favor of moving up in weight, said fighter will receive a high placement in the sanctioning bodies of his new home. In the case of the WBO, former champions in one weight class are immediately granted a world title opportunity. Nonetheless, a combination of injuries and a worldwide pandemic has forced him to wait.
In numerous conversations with Usyk over the years, the former Olympic gold medalist has dreamed of becoming a world champion in the heavyweight division. Yet, with both Fury and Joshua only one win away from achieving undisputed status, Usyk has been pushed to the side and forgotten.
Let’s be clear, a showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for all of the heavyweight marbles is salient. But to Usyk, it’s inconsequential.
The sound of a pen scribbling across sheets of paper can be heard from boxing fans as a two-fight deal is currently being hammered out between Hearn and Arum. It would be fairly easy for Joshua to vacate his WBO world title, face Fury and the winner to eventually circle back to face Usyk at a later date. With that being said, it isn’t what the Ukrainian wants, nor is it what he deserves.
There’s something to be said for a fighter that has won at every level. From Olympic glory to championship status in the pro’s Usyk has done it all. For fans at home though, they could care less. Simply stand to the side and allow the British stars to settle the debate of who is the best in the world. Any discussion that does not revolve around a mega showdown involving Joshua and Fury will be met with complete fulmination.
To Usyk however, their complaints will draw the same creepy smile he has flashed at his opponents just before dismantling them. The sexy fight, the popular fight and the significant fight is Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury. But Oleksandr Usyk has earned his shot at Anthony Joshua first.
Oleksandr Usyk Gives Anthony Joshua Two Choices: “Either He Fights Me Or He Relinquishes”
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.”
Oleksandr Usyk Dances His Way To Unanimous Decision Victory Over Dereck Chisora
By: Hans Themistode
The skills of Oleksandr Usyk were never in question, but coming up from a cruiserweight division in which he dominated, his size was.
A one sided beatdown of fringe contender Chazz Witherspoon did little to answer any questions regarding his standing in the heavyweight division late last year. But after a decision win over bonafide contender Dereck Chisora, the Ukrainian product answered those questions tonight.
After months of cancelations due to both injuries and a worldwide pandemic, Usyk and Chisora finally entered the ring against one another. The game plan was simple for both men.
For Chisora, he wanted to turn things into a bar fight. Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) on the other hand, wanted to steer clear of the big bombs that would be heading his way and box.
Things couldn’t have started any better for the British native. He came barreling straight ahead from the opening bell and placed nonstop pressure on his man. Not many of his shots landed but it was clear that Usyk wasn’t exactly having fun in there.
However, with the first three rounds going how he wanted, Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) seemingly ran out of steam. He backed off his consistent pressure and instead appeared content with plodding forward while throwing one shot at a time.
The change in both his game plan and stamina, turned the tide in favor of Usyk. The former undisputed cruiserweight titlist began finding his rhythm as his shots appeared to be ubiquitous.
As the rounds ticked by, it was becoming more and more obvious that Usyk was the fresher man and the more polished boxer. Chisora, to his credit, never gave in no matter how many times his head snapped back due to a right, left combination from Usyk.
During the championship rounds, Chisora appeared to have nothing left. The big shots were thrown far and few between and he essentially became a sitting duck for his opponents offense.
The British product walked slowly out of his corner in the final round, while Usyk appeared to be just fine. As the bell rang to signal the end of their contest, a dejected Chisora had no interest in shaking the out stretched hand of his opponent. Usyk though, sauntered around the ring with his hand raised while screaming inside of the empty Wembley arena.
As the two waited on the final word coming from the judges scorecards, unified champion Anthony Joshua was seen taking in the view from ringside.
A few moments later, the official decision was announced. One judge scoring the bout had it 117-112 while the remaining two had it much closer at 115-113, all in favor of Usyk.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora: Fight Preview
By: Hans Themistode
The build up was both long and hilarious, but in just a few more hours heavyweight contenders Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora will finally enter the ring.
For years now, Usyk, 33, danced circles around his opponents in the Cruiserweight division. With every single world title wrapped around his waist, the Ukrainian product made the move to the heavyweight division. Yet, after battling various injuries, Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) has fought only once at his new weight class. A matchup with the relatively unknown Chazz Witherspoon.
Many, including former Cruiserweight and Heavyweight titlist David Haye were left unimpressed. With that being said, the 33 year old will look to put everyone on notice when he takes on Chisora in Wembley arena in the United Kingdom.
For the majority of their build up, Usyk spent much of it asking Chisora how he was doing on social media. The soon to be 36 year old would playfully respond but while doing so, stayed in the gym working on his craft.
On the line tonight for both contenders isn’t a world title, but rather a near shot at claiming one. At the moment, Usyk currently holds the number one contender spot in the WBO sanctioning body, a title that Anthony Joshua holds. Chisora on the other hand, sits in the eight position, but should he pull off the upset, he’ll see his ranking vault towards the top.
The British products lone shot at a title came eight years ago against then champion Vitali Klitschko. Since then, his results have been somewhat of a mixed bag, winning four or five fights in a row against subpar competition before ultimately losing against the upper echelon of the division including the likes of Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and Kubrat Pulev. The latter is challenging Joshua for his heavyweight titles on December 12th.
That pattern has continued as Chisora has come out on the winning end in his last three contests against inferior competition.
In short, Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) has always seemingly come up short, and with oddsmakers having him as high as an 8-1 underdog, they’re expecting more of the same later on tonight.
The odds however, aren’t something that concerns him. Both he and his promoter David Haye, believe that the betting public has the wrong man favored on the night.
“Chisora will cause one of the biggest upsets in boxing,” explained Haye during their final press conference. “It will be well deserved, he’s worked so hard.”