By News Team
29th October 2020
Oleksandr Usyk returns to the UK this weekend for the first time since defeating Tony Bellew at the O2 Arena in 2018, but this time he fights at heavyweight – the enigmatic Dereck Chisora is his opponent.
Here’s our preview of Saturday’s Halloween pay-per-view special.
Usyk’s bid to usurp balance at heavyweight
Winning titles has become synonymous with the career of Oleksandr Usyk – an Olympic Gold medallist in 2012, a cruiserweight world champion after 10 professional fights, undisputed champion after 15; he’s won it all.
But it has always been a dream of the Ukranian to win a world title at heavyweight, and now the time has come for him to show his credentials.
Although Usyk’s first heavyweight bout came in October of last year, his opponent, Chazz Witherspoon, was far from the world level that he’d need to test himself against in order to prepare for the likes of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
The unranked American gave him problems. Understandably given the jump in weight, but Usyk seemed unnerved by the power of a heavyweight, and although he managed to force a seventh-round stoppage, it was back to drawing board, a moment to reflect on the task at hand.
Fast forward a year and 17 days, Usyk is scheduled to fight Dereck Chisora, a man with the power to knockout any size of heavyweight at any given time, let alone a jumped-up cruiserweight.
Chisora on the cusp of cracking his potential
The Briton, who has lost nine professional contests (a world away from Usyk’s perfect 17-0 record), has been training alongside David Haye for his last four contests.
Their record as a trainer/fighter partnership stands at 3-1, losing out to Dillian Whyte in their first fight together, but in all four of those fights, Chisora has looked fitter, sharper and heavier handed.
Together, they have trained for this fight like no other, staying in camp from the beginning of lockdown all the way through, until what will be eight full months of hard graft.
The flipside to the argument is that Usyk has now had a full year to make adjustments to life as a heavyweight, and Dereck Chisora – it’s undeniable – is no match for Usyk’s boxing brain and the technical aspects of boxing’s sweet science.
Chisora can take Usyk to places he’s never been before in a boxing ring, using his weight to lean on the smaller fighter, constantly moving forward and putting on pressure, and it’ll be particularly interesting to see whether Usyk has the power to deter Chisora from standing in the pocket and trading.
Usyk is a 1/8 favourite to win, no surprises given his pedigree, but it’s his 10/11 price to win by unanimous decision which could prove favourable as a market in this fight, given Chisora’s durability.
The 36-year-old is 5/1 to get the victory on Saturday, while he’s 11/2 to win the fight by KO, TKO or DQ, and if you fancy Chisora to catch Usyk with one of his trademark looping right hands, this is the market for you.