On Saturday, In an empty Wembley Arena, Veteran Heavyweight Derek Chisora took on former Cruiserweight World Champ and Amateur Superstar Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO inter-continental title, with the winner looking towards a shot at Anthony Joshua.
With all the bookies having the lively but limited Derek Chisora a massive underdog, against the highly skilled southpaw from Ukraine, the fights early rounds came as a bit of a surprise. The one question mark around Usyk’s transition from Cruiser to Heavyweight was whether he is too small to mix it with the big guys, and its clear this may be the case.
Chisora was able to impose his 3 stone weight advantage onto his opponent, with his lunges forward, ferocious workrate and crude but effective shifting, with Usyk unable to set his feet properly whilst taking punishment on the side. Chisoras rough house tactics appeared to be working for the early rounds, with Usyk preferring a more measured long range fight, but in the process of stalking Uskyit was clear the Londoner was burning up a lot of energy, and by the mid rounds he was unable to maintain the pace required to beat the Olympic Gold Medalist.
Towards the end of round 7 a combination from Usyk rocked Derek, and the fight turned swiftly against the home fighter going forward, with Usyk able to maintain some distance and pop out nice clean shots.
At the final bell, the judges scored the fight 117-112 115-113 115-113, all in favour of Oleksandr, but despite this unanimous decision, this fight appears to have raised more questions than it answered. The former undisputed Cruiserweight champion definitely struggled with the size and aggression of Chisora, who is not a top heavyweight in anyone’s books, so how would Usyk fair against the elite fighters in the division, who are both bigger and technically more proficient than gatekeepers like Chisora.