On a day of unprecedented sporting cancellations in light of the Coronavirus outbreak it was refreshing to look ahead to when times will hopefully be safer and more certain. In a respectful press conference in Central London lunchtime today Matchroom Boxing and K2 Promotions announced the contest between top five ‘pound for pounder’ Olexandr Usyk and Londoner Dereck Chisora.
The heavyweight bout which ironically has greater likelihood than when it was originally scheduled for the end of March, will now take place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday 23rd May.
Former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Usyk (17-0, 13 KO’s) will have only his second fight at heavyweight against a seasoned Chisora (32-9, 23 KO’s ) after a debut victory over Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago in October. Whilst the Londoner has a number of defeats on his record he’s competed well at the elite level, is on a winning streak and, will be fighting in his backyard.
‘Del Boy’ Chisora is big box office at the O2, coming off a four round blow out of David Price at the venue last October, and with tickets ranging from £40 to £800 VIP is sure to have a large, vocal following. Tickets went on general sale today and the bout will also be aired on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
In the presser, Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas made no bones that the ultimate target for the Ukrainian is to take a route to Anthony Joshua opening with “..we know this island holds all the heavyweight belts right now, that’s why we’re here, digging !” and the camp later namechecked AJ.
Both fighters showed total respect for each others abilities, unique in this era, and Chisora thanked his opponent for taking the fight and building on comments from ex-WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye explained in detail his current excellent condition and training regime.
Usyk through his promoter Alexander Krassyuk said “He’s really a big guy and he hits hard. I will train hard and will be in the best shape for this fight”.
This is an intriguing ‘crossroads’ fight with major consequences for the currently convoluted heavyweight division. Either, the 33 year old London Olympic champion Usyk will move onto challenge one of the champions, as current WBO mandatory challenger, or Chisora (36) will throw his large frame into the melting pot with a victory against a stellar opponent.
One thing it surely wont be is boring. Look for the hype to build over the next ten weeks and fireworks on the night.