David Haye sees trouble ahead for Oleksander Usyk when he puts his WBO heavyweight mandatory status on the line against Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs). Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) wanted to get a tune-up in before he challenges IBF/WBA/WBO champion, Anthony Joshua.
Usyk has never fought a heavyweight with the power and talent of Chisora, and he may have bitten off more than he can chew in taking this fight.
But the decision by Usyk to take on the dangerous 36-year-old Chisora could prove to be the costliest mistake of his short seven-year professional career. With a victory over the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk, Chisora will snatch his WBO mandatory status, and then move forward to challenge Joshua in a fight that will set him up for life financially.
Haye wants Usyk to know that Chisora is NOT 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon, who Oleksander beat last October by an unimpressive 7th round retirement stoppage in Chicago.
Chisora a different game than Witherspoon
“It’s frustrating but no more frustrating than it is for the Uskyk team. They are consummate professionals, and they’ll still be training, as Dereck is,” said Haye to Boxing Social about the sport being in lockdown. “It’s obviously limited training that you can do in these times, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
“It’s an unfortunate hiccup, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. You’ve got to play the best hand that you’ve been dealt. Dereck is in a good place. I did worry that this fight could get pulled a month or so ago. But here we are, the fight is postponed. We don’t have a date yet.
“The British Boxing Board of Control won’t sanction boxing matches in the UK, understandably. But I think the longer the fight doesn’t happen, the more conditioned and the more time Dereck has to prepare.
“He’s fighting someone skill-wise who is probably the best big man in the world. He’s in most people’s pound-for-pound top five. He’s [Usyk] at heavyweight now, and he’s had one fight at heavyweight.
“I don’t believe he set the world on fire with his fight against Chazz Witherspoon, but he got the stoppage victory. Dereck Chisora is a whole different game than Witherspoon was. Witherspoon turned up on short notice and was blasted out there,” said Haye.
A win for Chisora is very much a possibility in this fight, as Usyk looked weak and small in his heavyweight debut against Witherspoon. Choosing an out of shape and old Witherspoon did nothing for Usyk, and it was a pointless match. Whether that was Eddie Hearn’s decision or Usyk’s manager’s idea for him to face Witherspoon, someone should have vetoed the idea. Usyk needed a real opponent, and he didn’t get that with Witherspoon.
Chisora with opportunity to earn Joshua fight
“Dereck Chisora is going to come in like a man possessed,” said Haye. “He’s living and breathing boxing like he should have done, but he’s doing it at the right time because he has the biggest challenge of his career. He’s 36-years-old, and he knows this is his last chance.
“There’s not going to be many other opportunities like this. This is effectively the WBO mandatory fight. Usyk is the #1 challenger, he’s ranked #1, and he’s the WBO mandatory for Joshua’s WBO title. So if Chisora can beat Usyk, he puts himself in a hell of a position to get that big fight against the WBO champ.
“It’s an exciting time for Dereck. He knows it. He’s eating clean, living the life, and that’s all I could ever hope for a fighter to give himself the best opportunity to win a fight when it finally does present itself.
“In the past, Dereck has gone off the rails after the fight. I don’t want to say ‘go off the rails.’ He’s not 100% disciplined in camp in the past, but when a fight was not scheduled,” said Haye.
If Chisora wins this fight, he’ll be rolling in the dough against Joshua in 2021. This is a fight for all the marbles, and Chisora just needs to figure out a way to get to Usyk’s chin often enough to stop him. Artur Beterbiev got the better of Usyk in the Olympics but was arguably robbed. What Beterbiev showed was Usyk is vulnerable against pressure fighters that can punch hard.
Dereck will be at his best against Usyk
“When there was no fight in the pipeline, he wasn’t the guy to be in the gym twice a day, pushing his body, eating healthy,” said Haye. “But over time, he’s learned from his mistakes, and he’s as good as he’s ever going to be in his next fight. So that’s all we can hope.
“Every British fight fan can hope that we’ve seen the very best Dereck Chisora. When they’ve seen Dereck Chisora in the past, the fans absolutely loved Chisora. The one thing he can guarantee is value for money.
“The way he went after David Price, and his last few opponents have shown that he’s here for business. He wants it. Look at the Carlos Takam fight. It was a fight that he was getting absolutely slaughtered in. It was his heart and his determination, his grit, and his will, and hide never give up mentality is why he won that fight.
“The fans truly respect that and understand that he’s going to give them 100%. That’s why every time he fights, it’s in front of a packed out crowd,” said Haye.
Well, if boxing doesn’t start up again until later this year or in 2021, Chisora should be in the best shape of his life. We can only hope for Chisora’s sake that he doesn’t overtrain. Chisora will need to be lean enough for him to chase Usyk around the ring if he chooses to use movement to avoid him like he did against Michael Hunter.
In Chisora’s loss to Agit Kabayel, he struggled with his movement the entire fight. You can count on Usyk having studied that fight backward and forwards before he faces Chisora.