Pound-For-Pound Star Faces Brit Favourite in Heavyweight War
Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk will face British favourite Derek Chisora in a colossal Heavyweight clash at The O2 in London on Saturday May 23, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) made the move to Heavyweight after dominating at Cruiserweight, ending his extraordinary spell at 200lbs as the Undisputed king with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponents’ backyard against Marco Huck, Mairis Breidis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew.
The 2012 Olympic Gold medallist began his assault on the Heavyweight division by retiring Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago last October and continues his bid to become a two-weight World Champion when he faces an in-form Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs).
Former World Title challenger Chisora scored a devastating second round knockout over Poland’s Artur Szpilka at The O2 in July 2019, a year on from his incredible eighth round KO win against Carlos Takam at the same venue, before blitzing fellow Brit David Price in four rounds last October.
The famous Greenwich venue has become a lion’s den for Chisora in recent years, playing host to his last six fights, and the Finchley powerhouse is planning on giving Usyk nightmares in his first real test in the big boy division.
“Boxing in Manchester in 2018 was an amazing experience, now I get to do it in London at the famous O2 Arena and I can’t wait to fight in front of the British fans once again,” said Usyk. “As a Cruiserweight, I reached the highest heights as Undisputed Champion and now I am following the same path as a Heavyweight.
“I expect a real test in Chisora – he is strong, tough and resilient. I recall being an amateur and watching his fight with Vitali Klitschko. It seemed so big and far away. Now I am myself taking a fight against Chisora. I am working hard in my training camp to show a spectacular performance on May 23rd. Dear friends, I will see you soon!”
“WAR is coming,” said Chisora. “Usyk reckons he can step up and survive with the big boys. He may be the Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion of the World but on May 23rd he will find out what it feels like to be hit by a real Heavyweight. He is coming to my backyard, I’m going to remind him exactly why he hid in the Cruiserweight division and also get revenge for my boy, Tony Bellew. This will be WAR.”
“This has the potential to be one of the great O2 nights – a Heavyweight blockbuster that can only be full of drama,” said Eddie Hearn. “Usyk, who has become a UK fans favourite in his own right, did it all at Cruiserweight, becoming Undisputed World Champion in just 15 fights.
“Now he attempts the same feat in the glamour division, with the big boys. Has he bitten off more than he can chew with Del Boy, who has consistently proved the doubters wrong and become one of the toughest, explosive Heavyweights in the game. Anything can happen on May 23, drop everything and don’t miss it!”
“This barn stormer fight against Usyk, the Mandatory Challenger for AJ’s WBO World title, has been talked about for more than six months,” said David Haye. “WAR Chisora had been written off by all the experts, in reality a couple of years ago people believed his career to be over and many still consider Chisora’s chances of victory on May 23rd as minute, and who can blame them?
“Derek is a fighter with 9 losses on his professional record, who will be stepping in a ring with a former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion and 2012 Olympic Gold medallist – Usyk is a fighter found in everyone’s top five pound for pound list. On paper it’s mission impossible, but in reality, WAR Chisora is preparing to bring something Usyk has never seen before, an intensity from a rock solid 119kg wrecking machine, who will bulldoze his way to a victory in his hometown.”
“Oleksandr Usyk against Derek Chisora has all the ingredients for a classic Heavyweight clash,” said Adam Smith, Sky Sports’ Head of Boxing Development. Can the supremely talented Ukrainian withstand Chisora’s relentless aggression on a red-hot night at The O2? I’ve spoken to Chisora’s manager David Haye who is massively confident that his fighter will topple the former Undisputed Cruiserweight king.
“We know all about Usyk’s class, having witnessed his dramatic battle with Tony Bellew at Manchester Arena – and a certain Anthony Joshua will be keeping a close eye on a potential foe for the future. We’ve got a real Heavyweight line-up in the coming weeks, with Dillian Whyte’s explosive encounter against Alexander Povetkin, Usyk‘s risky showdown with Chisora and then AJ takes centre stage for his huge World Title fight against Kubrat Pulev.”