SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 31, 2020 – Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine (18-0, 13 KOs) got more than many expected out of Derek Chisora of London (32-10, 23 KOs). Usyk prevailed in a real test by unanimous decision, with scores of 117-111 and 115-113 X 2.
“I think it’s good, my boxing,” said Usyk in English after the fight. “It’s a real testing at heayweight from a big guy, hard guy. It’s good for boxing, I love boxing, yeah.”
Usyk admitted he ended up fighting Chisora’s fight in large part. “I am fought his fight, yeah. I wasn’t expecting the fight I got. I was expecting even a tougher fight.” Usyk graded himself just 3 out of 10 when asked.
Chisora took the only approach possible. He used his size early in the fight to bully and badger Usyk. He rushed at him and outhustled him in the first few rounds. It allowed Chisora to successfully land several sharp headshots on Usyk, who seemed a little startled by the fast start.
Chisora started to breathe heavily by the third round, just as the more nimble Usyk settled down and began using the entire ring to circle Chisora and score with his jab while staying out of range.
Usyk gave Chisora another round or two to wear him out, and then the fun began for the Ukrainian. He hit his stride in the seventh round, landing some impressive hooks to the head. Usyk buzzed Chisora near the end of the round and he knew it, moving it to try and close out the fight. But he didn’t have enough time on round clock to do it.
In the following rounds, Usyk continued to circle and snap off punches. Give Chisora credit for hanging in there. During the ninth round, Chisora summoned some energy and began having a little success, fighting once again off the front foot. But it was just a little. Usyk danced away easily, forcing Chisora to chase him like a dog teasing another with a toy. It was calculated to wear Chisora out.
Chisora pushes Usyk in final effort
But Chisora wasn’t giving up. In round 10, Chisora landed some hard shots, and Usyk must have wondered where the big man was getting his second wind. Chisora took some chances with wild winging shots to see if he could get lucky and land something, but Usyk managed to dodge anything dangerous.
Usyk boxed his way across the finish line, but he had to earn it by running through the Chisora gauntlet the entire way.
Chisora was understandably disappointed at getting so close but not getting the result he worked for. “I feel great man, just a little disappointed. I was pushing the case. I gave a couple of rounds away. But the judges saw it a different way,” said Chisora, who credited his pressure, his southpaw turns and his bodywork for his successful rounds.
“In the heavyweight game, it’s a fight, not boxing. He caught me with some good shots, but they weren’t painful shots,” said Chisora. When asked about the future, he offered a message applicable far beyond boxing.
“What’s happening with the world right now, with the new lockdown we’re going in. Stay safe you know, don’t be depressed. Everyone will go back to normal soon enough. Be kind to each other. This time we really need it. We’re all struggling right now. The world is bad right now,” said Chisora.
Yes, it was Chisora’s tenth loss, but he was on the brink of retiring three years ago when he decided instead to clean up his life and move forward. He gave Usyk a challenge and the fans an exciting fight. He’s far from done should he choose to continue. Chisora vs. Andy Ruiz, Jr. anyone?
Is Usyk a big enough talent at heavyweight?
Usyk won, but his performance gave fuel to his critics who believe he doesn’t have the size to compete with the bigger heavyweights. Don’t tell it to Usyk though. “My plan is to go home, spend maximum time with my family, and at my gym training forward. I’m not boxing in one year, in competition.” Does he see himself becoming a champion at heavyweight? “Not just world champion. Undisputed world champion!” declaired Usyk.
Usyk remains the WBO mandatory challenger to British unified champion Anthony Joshua, who watched the fight ringside. Usyk and his manager Alexander Krassyuk said they will insist on the fight being assuming Joshua defeats his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev next month.
But they are the only ones who expect this to happen. Joshua and Tyson Fury are headed for a mega matchup, and the boxing powers that be will find a way to compensate Usyk while he hangs fire, and tries to find a decent stay-busy opponent while the top names sort things out.
George Kambosos Jr. takes split decision win over veteran Lee Selby
In the co-main event, veteran lightweight and former featherweight champion Lee Selby of Wales (28-2, 9 KOs) plays the gatekeeper for Australian challenger George Kambosos Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs) in an IBF title eliminator. Kambosos Jr. relocated to Florida and is trained by Javier Centeno.
“I’m not fearful of any fighter. I don’t believe any boxer is. We’re fighting men. We don’t fear our opponents,” said Selby, who said it has been much easier at age 33 to make the lightweight limit. “I expect him to come out with pressure and high work-rate which will make for a great spectacle.”
Kambosos Jr. has made no secret of his desire to send Selby into retirement to make room for his generation – although he is only six years younger at age 27. “I’m super excited. I’m a caged lion right now. I can’t wait for this fight. This is my time. I’m in my prime, and I’m ready to make a huge statement,” declared Kambosos Jr. “It doesn’t matter who is in front of me. I’m ready to make a huge statement. I can’t wait to get in on.”
Marshall manhandles Rankin for middleweight title
Savannah Marshall of Hartlepool, England (9-0, 7 KOs) put on an impressive show against Hannah Rankin of Glasgow, Scotland (9-5, 2 KOs), winning the vacant women’s WBO World Middleweight title by sixth-round TKO.
Marshall was aggressive, accurate, and showed a bit of a mean streak pummeling Rankin. The Scotswoman had plenty of heart but no real answers or tools to hold off Marshall. She was forced to take a knee, and the referee finally got the message and waived off the contest.
Marshall is a woman of few words, but expressed great satisfaction colored with relief at finally getting the fight scheduled and over. “I’ve watched every weekend all the other Matchroom girls get their chances. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not always about fighting. But Peter (Fury) said if you’re good enough, you’ll get there.”
The obvious fight ahead for Marshall is with unified middleweight champion Claressa Shields. She’s up for it. “I took a fight in April at light heavy. I came all the way down to middle for this. She doesn’t want none of me,” said Marshall. Shields, who was watching the fight, didn’t hold back. Shields will need to take care of a mandatory challenger; following that, there isn’t any reason #ShieldsMarshall shouldn’t take place in 2021.
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