Carl Froch says heavyweight Dereck Chisora will show whether Oleksandr Usyk belongs in the heavyweight division or not in their fight on October 31st at the Wembley Arena in Wembley, UK.
Froch expects the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) to outbox Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) and put on a show while doing it on Holloween, but he’s not certain if he can. Usyk, 33, doesn’t have any experience at heavyweight, and he’s not young.
Matchroom boxing set Usyk up with an over-the-hill 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon a year ago in October for his first and only fight at heavyweight.
Usyk won the fight by a seventh-round knockout, but he’s outstanding. He didn’t show Evander Holyfield’s type of power or talent in dispatching Witherspoon.
Holyfield is a fighter that transitioned from cruiserweight champion to heavyweight successfully in the late 1980s, but he’s a far better fighter talent-wise compared to Usyk.
Evander came into the heavyweight division with power that was on the level of many fighters in the division, and he also had a great chin and was tough. Usyk is more of the opposite. He’s more of a Chris Byrd type of heavyweight, and maybe not even that good.
That’s the chief reason why you can’t rule out a win for Chisora because Usyk isn’t that good of a fighter. He barely beat Mairis Briedis at cruiserweight, and he looked timid against Tony Bellew.
“We don’t know how good Usyk is going to be at heavyweight because he’s not been there for long,” said Carl Froch to Sporting Radio. “He’s only had one fight at heavyweight.
“In the heavyweight division, they can all punch, and we don’t know if he can take a shot,” Froch said about Usyk. “We need to know what Usyk is going to be like under pressure against a proper heavyweight.
Matchroom has done the right thing in using Chisora as the guy to give Usyk a test at heavyweight. Although there are many better heavyweights than Chisora, he’s got the power and the toughness to show whether Usyk can hang at heavyweight.
Chisora’s name recognition will help Usyk’s popularity in the UK. So if Usyk does beat Chisora, it’ll be a much bigger fight when he turns around and challenges the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fight in 2021 or 2022.
If Usyk loses to Chisora, he can always move back down to cruiserweight to continue his successful career in that weight class. It’s doubtful that Usyk will do that, though. At heavyweight, Usyk can quickly rebuild himself by three or four fights to get back in position to challenge for a world title.
The money is at heavyweight, so you can expect Usyk to stay in the division even if Chisora knocks him out. The division is weak, and there are plenty of opportunities for a small light-hitting former cruiserweight like Usyk to make money.
It’s too bad that he wasn’t blessed with Holyfield’s power and talent because he would have a good shot at making something happen at heavyweight. With Joshua’s poor stamina and weak chin, Usyk would be a threat to him if he could punch like Holyfield and take a shot as he could.
“Chisora is going to let us find out if Usyk belongs at heavyweight. I struggle to pick Chisora to win this fight other than by knockout or to land a big blow, which you can’t rule out. Usyk should outbox Chisora and put on a bit of a show,” said Froch.
We already did find out a lot about Usyk’s suitability at heavyweight in his debut in the division against Witherspoon last year. Usyk didn’t look good. He looked like a cruiserweight with no power to speak of an average speed. If that’s as good as it gets for Usyk, Chisora has a good shot at beating him on October 31st.
That probably won’t make Matchroom happy, but there’s not much you can do about it. They obviously knew when they signed Usyk that he might not pan out at heavyweight. A loss for Usyk against Chisora would bring out their worst fears.