Usyk vs Chisora: Oleksandr Usyk has a ‘hitman’ mindset with razor-sharp speed and accuracy, says sparring partner David Allen

Oleksandr Usyk has the mindset of a ‘hitman’ with speed and accuracy to seriously trouble a heavyweight opponent, says sparring partner David Allen.

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The former undisputed cruiserweight king is targeting more world titles in the top division, but must first overcome Derek Chisora on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Allen also returns on the Usyk-Chisora bill, in a must-win clash with Christopher Lovejoy, and he flew out to Kiev for a two-week spell of sparring sessions with the Ukrainian pound-for-pound star.

Tell us your first impressions of Camp Usyk?

The food wasn’t great, the hotel wasn’t great, but the sparring was amazing. An unbelievable fighter. Maybe the best fighter I’ve ever seen up close, amazing.

He came straight over, spoke to me in the best English he could, ‘Welcome to the Ukraine, hope you’re alright Mr Allen.’ Shook my hand, gave me a little hug and he was great the whole time I was there. I really liked him.

What were the early sparring sessions like?

My first spar was steady. He was playing and I thought, I’m not here to get battered, and I’ll play along with you.

As time went on, he got a little back angrier, and a little bit more mean, and started to hit me a little bit harder and a little bit more frequently. I did an [Muhammad] Ali shuffle and he didn’t like it. He battered me for that. I started to get a bit excited, had a bit of success, and he put me in my place.

I was trying to box him. I was there as a sparring partner for him, but really I’m there for me. For the most part, I wanted to box with arguably one of the best boxers in our generation.

I wanted to learn from him. I didn’t want to go and just get stuck into him. I’m really happy with the experience, to be honest.

What did you learn from Usyk?

These fighters at the top, their conditioning is elite. The difference between the elite heavyweights and me, is conditioning.

I don’t really have much less skill than them. Just the fact that I can do it for 30 seconds, they can do it for 36 minutes. That is the difference, and again, I’ve seen that and learned from that.

Can you explain Usyk’s strengths?

It’s his feet really. His feet are unbelievable. Part of it is natural, his reflexes, balance and stuff but he’s very clever, the way he moves. A lot of it is natural, but a lot of it is taught and learnt as well.

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His jab is good. It’s not a massively powerful shot. It’s just in your face all the time.

He’s a great body puncher, that’s what surprised me the most. I’m not talking left hook to the body or a right hook. Just a straight left to the stomach. It hurts.

How powerful does he punch?

The obvious one to compare him to would be Derek Chisora. He doesn’t hit anywhere near as hard as Chisora, but Usyk hits you on the chin and you don’t see it coming. That causes more problems, definitely for a fighter like me, than a big heavy puncher.

If you don’t see it coming and it hits you on the chin, you’re in big trouble.

David Allen

If I can see it coming, I can take it. If you don’t see it coming and it hits you on the chin, you’re in big trouble.

Usyk might not hit as hard as the other heavyweights, but he definitely caused me more problems, with his speed and his accuracy.

What does he think of Chisora?

He doesn’t take anything personal, he’s just there for business. He’s a bit like a hitman. It’s isn’t personal, but he’s going to punch your head in.

I think he probably likes Derek Chisora, he probably enjoys Derek as most boxing fans do, but I’m pretty sure on October 31, he’ll have nothing more than bad intentions.

Watch Usyk vs Chisora on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.

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