Leading contender Dillian Whyte doubts Oleksandr Usyk’s credentials as a heavyweight.
Having unified the cruiserweight division with a series of eye-catching performances on away soil, Usyk hasn’t replicated the same electric form since a move into the realm of the heavyweight behemoths.
As a heavy, Ukrainian Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) halted an overmatched Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds in October 2019 before outpointing a spirited Dereck Chisora one year later. Yet the WBO has elevated Usyk to No.1 contender status, under the Puerto Rican sanctioning body’s rule that grants its champions moving up in weight a crack at the world title at a higher poundage.
Usyk is now expected to meet Londoner Joe Joyce for the WBO ‘Interim’ crown as he awaits the winner of the projected Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury undisputed title fight.
Brixton’s Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) breathed fresh life into his career with a dominant fourth-round stoppage of former conqueror Alexander Povetkin last month, but hasn’t seen much to fear in Usyk’s heavyweight campaign thus far.
“Who has he fought at heavyweight? Dereck Chisora? Like, come on… Dereck Chisora is a few years past it now. You know, I’ve beaten Derek Chisora twice,” Whyte told ‘The AK & Barak Show’ on DAZN and SiriusXM.
“Obviously, Usyk struggled with him, you know what I mean. In that fight, Usyk was fighting scared. He was just, sort of jabbing and running away. He never had Chisora in trouble at any point.”