This Saturday, Ukrainian maestro Oleksandr Usyk faces his first serious test in the heavyweight division when he meets the battle-tested Dereck Chisora at the SSE Arena in Wembley.
WBO No.1 contender and former undisputed cruiserweight king Usyk is closing in on a shot at reigning champion Anthony Joshua whilst Chisora is hoping to wreck those plans and take his place.
Will Usyk inch closer to the heavyweight elite or is ‘War’ Chisora set to continue his career renaissance with a famous victory?
Boxing Social’s fearless band of writers and psychics endeavour to predict the outcome.
Give Dereck Chisora a stationary target and he will produce an entertaining fight. Against boxers with superior foot work, Chisora loses interest almost as quickly as the viewers watching at home do. Against Tyson Fury (twice) and Agit Kabayel, ‘War’ appeared frustrated and showed little appetite for attempting to cut off the ring. Chisora also struggles with southpaws, his spectacular KO of Artur Szpilka aside, he has never looked good against a left-hander. The question most want answered in this contest is “What happens when Usyk gets caught flush by a genuine heavyweight?” Sadly, I don’t think Chisora is the fighter to ask the question. Usyk’s ring IQ, footwork and hand speed should see him cruise to either a wide decision or late stoppage. – John A. MacDonald
I think Chisora is made to order for Usyk in this latest PPPV (Pandemic Pay-Per-View). The Ukrainian’s stellar footwork, quicksilver hands, masterful boxing brain and steady drip of pressure will gradually dent Chisora’s resolve and ‘War’ mentality. Usyk should force a game but outclassed Chisora to retire on his stool around the 10th. The Ukrainian has bigger fish to fry. – Mark Butcher
It’s hard to make a case for Dereck Chisora to do any more than take a few rounds off Oleksandr Usyk this weekend. The heavyweight division renaissance man may be in the form and shape of his life but other than Tyson Fury he has never faced a fighter with the boxing abilities of Usyk. Chisora has the cliched puncher’s chance and the ‘Anything can happen in boxing’ form of punditry to support him but this is a bridge too far for most if not all of the heavyweight contenders, let alone Chisora. He will make his size count, the wide hooks and uppercuts on the inside will be thrown and Usyk will be there but then he won’t be. Chisora will be picked off and have his will broken and the fight taken away from him. It will look valiant but Usyk will be way ahead on the cards by the time that phrase is even thought of in the fight. Usyk by wide unanimous decision and then possibly the retirement of ‘Del Boy’. – Shaun Brown.
It’s all well and good replaying Chisora’s monstrous knockout of Carlos Takam. It’s great – while still a little odd – to hear David Haye hanging the drum for his charge. But all things considered, there’s not a chance that Dereck Chisora beats Oleksandr Usyk this weekend.
Yes, Del Boy has been enjoying something of an Indian Summer, but his latest, exciting victories have come against second tier heavyweights. Takam is getting on a bit, David Price is always vulnerable and Artur Szpilka has made a living from dragging Wilder into the later rounds. None of those men have what Usyk has.
Remember how dangerous Murat Gassiev had looked? His power and aggression had many touting him as a future heavyweight contender. The Ukrainian defanged Gassiev beautifully, and won the fight with ease. Usyk’s movement is incredible; he screens everything, and makes subtle adjustments, much like his far smaller compatriot.
I expect Chisora to throw the kitchen sink at Usyk in the opening half of the fight, but Usyk can take a shot – he’s shown that, too. The unbeaten, former undisputed cruiserweight king will stop Chisora in rounds 10-12. Then, the journey really begins. – Craig Scott.
*Alan*: I’m not driving a mini-Metro, I’m not driving a mini-Metro, I’m not driving a mini-Metro.
*Lynn*: No, no it’s different. It’s called a Rover Metro now.
*Alan*: They’ve rebadged it, you fool!
Reinventing Del Boy as WAR™️ may have worked wonders commercially in recent years, but the fact remains that this particular run-of-the-mill plodder has never, and will never, compete with the sport’s sleekest head-turners.
Usyk is a notorious slow starter and, much like the Tony Bellew fight, the early cards will have very little to do with the quality of the Brit and everything to do with the Ukrainian going through the gears.
Chisora’s chin may well mean he hears the final bell for a wide points defeat, but a stoppage is very possible if it becomes target practice in the championship rounds.
This is the ideal opponent for Usyk to look good against and finally announce himself as a major player as heavyweight, but as a PPV contest? I’m not buying the mini-Metro. – Phil Rogers.
Without question, the heavyweight division ultimately has more to gain from a convincing Usyk victory than it does by a shock, explosive one-punch Chisora upset. Chisora, at nearly 37, is in the twilight of what can best be described as an idiosyncratic career.
A positive result for him would prove the theory of Usyk’s physical limitations at heavyweight, rather than signifying a belated charge at world title honours for ‘Del Boy’.
The heavyweight division will become a more intriguing and exciting place if the Ukrainian can prove that he can see off a full-sized heavyweight and fully establish himself among the big men. How he copes with a bigger unit like Chisora will be interesting to see. Everyone is waiting with bated breath for the first flush Suzy-Q to land on the former cruiserweight’s jaw. But they may have to wait a little longer…
Usyk does not move in leaden-footed straight lines like Carlos Takam or possess the accommodating chin of David Price. His movement and skills should be too much for Chisora and will drain the stamina and heart out of him as the fight progresses. My tip is on a late stoppage, with a shattered Chisora never having visited the canvas, but stubbornly still on his feet. – Garry White.
Feature image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing