Derek Chisora will provide acid test of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight credentials
We are about to discover if Oleksandr Usyk has what it takes to campaign as a genuine heavyweight.
At cruiser he set the gold standard, arguably in the same class as Evander Holyfield and David Haye.
Whether he can emulate Holyfield and to a lesser degree Haye and prosper at heavyweight is the point at issue against Dereck Chisora at Wembley Arena.
Though retired by his corner in his second fight against Tyson Fury, Chisora has been down only twice in 41 fights, courtesy of Haye and Dillian Whyte.
Usyk boasts that he won’t even have to connect with his best shot to drop Chisora. That’s quite the claim for someone who does not have the freakish power of Haye.
In his first and only fight at heavyweight a year ago Usyk weighed 215 pounds against Chazz Witherspoon, who was a late replacement.
Witherspoon stepped up at less than a week’s notice and did not come out for the eighth round in Chicago.
Beating up a late sub is not the same as facing a known quantity like Chisora, who is game as they come and loves a tear-up.
Usyk never looked like knocking out Witherspoon, who weighed 242 pounds, despite trying his best which begs the question how effective he can be against the really big beasts.
Chisora floats between 240 and 260. Even if Usyk hits 220 does he have the power to knock him off his feet?
Not for nothing are the WBC proposing to drop the cruiserweight limit from 200 pounds back to its original 190 and add a new division up to 224 pounds for guys like Usyk who fall between cruiser and the Furys and Anthony Joshuas off this world.
He was amazing at cruiserweight, but with the big boys it’s all about power and torque. And as history as shown us hardly any cruisers have campaigned successfully at heavyweight.
Chisora is a month shy of his 38 birthday. I would argue he has fallen short at the highest level despite taking Wladimir Klitschko and Fury, in their first encounter, the distance.
I believe Usyk will make Chisora look awkward and slow. If he can beat him up and stop him it will force a few of us to re-evaluate.
But if he outboxes him and doesn’t hurt him what chance would he have against a Fury or Joshua?
He believes he has the tools to take on any. This will tells us what we need to know.
Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone, @McGuigans_Gym and @CyclonePromo
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