By Tré Berry III | 10/31/2020
With this serving as a “true” introduction to the professional Heavyweight division, 🥇Oleksandr Usyk (18-0-0, 13KO), and perennial Heavyweight contender Dereck “War” Chisora (32-10-0, 23KO) put forth a tense, highly entertaining DAZN headliner, that answered questions lingering about each combatant. Usyk walked away with the Unanimous Decision victory, while Chisora supplied the pressure, and made it uncomfortable early for the Ukrainian before Olek began to adapt to the action.
The size difference between the two men was immeasurable even when the 🛎️opening bell sounded, and much like what you would expect, Chisora came out throwing his weight and muscle around, landing a few heavy body punches and a right hand upstairs. With the unrelenting pressure, Usyk chose to hold often to nullify the exchanges to buy some time.
Round 2, Usyk looked more in his element, skating on his feet and landing multiple counter combinations against the aggressive Chisora, taking the 💨steam off of them and focusing more on accuracy. Chisora often used the cross-armed defense to walk his way in, cutting the ring off and constantly pinning the smaller Ukrainian on the ropes.
Oleksandr Usyk landed a flush right hand up top, looking to slow down the aggression of Chisora, but it didn’t slow down his pursuit at this point as he continued to come forward and maul Olek on the inside with overhand right hands, and left hooks to the body. In the third round, Usyk started finding home with the right hand, scraping Chisora’s chin over the top, having some effect on the war machine.
With some evidence of Chisora getting low on the ⛽gas-tank, his offense appeared to slow up a bit by the time the 5th round came about. Takeaways that I had from the round was that Chisora does not counterpunch, as every time Usyk feinted, or punched, Dereck went into full on defensive mode, without any intent to retaliate or look for openings. Usyk began firing full power with his cross and right hook over the top, as he started to fully establish the range he desired to be in.
Usyk’s conscious decision to switch to the shoulder-roll stance ↪️changed the tide of the fight by being accountable for both the head and the body – taking away what Chisora wanted to do. Usyk began peppering him with the right jab and utilizing his unparalleled footwork among big men. In the 7th, Usyk finally introduced his power by 💥scraping Chisora with a hard shot up top that immediately took away his aggression, casually wobbling backwards in the round, but wasn’t enough time to capitalize on the momentum for Usyk.
Oleksandr chalked up by far his best round in the 8th stanza, landing constant 2-3 combinations, and countering nearly everything Chisora was trying to initiate, and once again a shot late seemed to take the starch out of Dereck, Usyk was in full control now. Dereck understanding that he was losing ground reinitiated himself on the front foot in in the following round, and had the best round that he had since perhaps the second, but couldn’t quite snatch the momentum back that he needed, but put him right back in the thick of things.
Round 10, Usyk threw routine 3 punch combinations upstairs, while Chisora had some success in close, but I noticed that Usyk during initiated clinches was beginning to push Dereck backwards, which is intriguing given that Chisora is naturally the much bigger and stronger man, foreshadowing his exhaustion. The 11th round, Olek put a beating on Dereck in a dominant showing, though wasn’t quite enough to put Chisora down since he was showing vulnerability of dropping. The 12th round followed much in the mold of the 11th, with Usyk opening up comfortably, changing looks and throwing the power up top to the jaw. Chisora, the valiant warrior survived finish on his feet and get to the 🛎️final bell.
THE TWELVE ROUND FIGHT VERDICT
With horrible judging marring the efforts of 🇬🇧Lee Selby against 🇦🇺George Kambosos Jr. a fight prior, inward angst was probably felt naturally by viewers at home, hoping that they would get it right. A couple of judges got wooed into Chisora pressing forward, while one judge scored the action of the fight adequately, but nonetheless, they all picked the right victor, and that was Usyk, who won by Unanimous Decision.
Usyk can now have some film to look at, in further adjusting to the division as he can strategically map out a plan that is in accordance with the progression. Chisora was disappointed, believing he won the fight. I’d say Chisora proves to continue to be a respectable live gatekeeper that can continue to keep going – if he wants to continue boxing as he is a couple months shy of his 🗓️37th birthday, so decisions to be made.
OLEKSANDR USYK AND HIS INAUGURAL HEAVYWEIGHT REPORT CARD 📜
Since virtually everyone looked at this fight as a truth teller of whether Oleksandr belongs, or could adjust to the division given that Chisora was the heaviest, as well as the strongest opponent he has ever fought at any level, we decided to run down the check-list to see how he handled the physicality.
PHYSICAL STRENGTH – As we know, Chisora is arguably the strongest Heavyweight that is around right now, and as expected, he threw his weight around early, which was alarming, seeing Usyk physically moved the way he was moved. Usyk over time adjusted to Chisora’s strength, and actually began to push Del Boy back, which means Usyk’s physical endurance and mental endurance passes the test.
PHYSICAL GRADE: B
PUNCHING POWER – While most people never pegged Usyk to be a powerpuncher (even at Cruiserweight), he certainly has shown he is capable when sitting on a shot, shown often in his early Cruiserweight fights, hurting 🇵🇱Krysztof Glowacki, and starching 🇬🇧Tony Bellew with a single shot. Usyk will NEVER be 🥉🇺🇸Deontay Wilder in this division when it comes to vaunted power, but there were about 4 – 5 occasions where he hurt Chisora, who was 40 lbs. heavier, and in his career, has only been starched by a couple of heavier hitters. With that in mind, it means that Usyk hits just hard enough to matter.
PUNCHING GRADE: B –
STAMINA – Having one of the best motors in the sport, one will naturally lose steam when they have to wrestle with a much bigger opponent, so that was one of the things I looked to analyze most coming into the fight. While Usyk got a bit tired by rounds 8 and 9, he caught his second wind and finished strong despite having to deal with the natural rough housing of Chisora on the inside, and showcased his best wind in the 12th round, so stamina in this division is a major plus.
CHIN – Usyk throughout the World Series of boxing (most notably in his fight against 🥈🇬🇧Joe Joyce), and his fights against 🇱🇻Mairis Briedis, and 🇷🇺Murat Gassiev (who hits as hard as nearly any fighter 200+ lbs.) has shown to possess an iron chin. Against Chisora, the shots that landed physically moved Usyk, and buzzed him in a couple spots, however he was never seriously hurt, despite Del throwing some mustard behind his thudding hooks and crosses – punches that I’ve seen take out well-established Heavyweights. This is a trait that Oleksandr Usyk is definitely going to need going forward in this quest.
ADAPTABILITY – This is probably Usyk’s greatest trait, being able to read, react, and adjust to anything that he has to put up with. In his fight against Dereck, you seen a rare moment where he ditched his normal classic hands high, elbows in defense and went to the philly-shell to nullify the hooks to the body, which worked immensely. Oleksandr also successfully diversified his attack round by round, and over time the work accumulated, to put Chisora in compromising situations.
ADAPTABILITY: A +
WHAT THE OVERALL GRADING INDICATES
It will be very intriguing to cover Usyk’s aspirations at the Heavyweight level, and where he wants to go from here. When it comes to skills, no one active is more skilled at both Cruiserweight and Heavyweight than Oleksandr Usyk, so the lingering questions were those in his report card, and from the looks of it, he has something pretty good to work with. Will he get to his goal of becoming Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion? I’m not sure, no one is truthfully……but it will be very interesting to see how the little guy (by today’s Heavyweight standards of giants) looks to play the David role against the Goliath’s that are lined up to try and squash him.