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Usyk to continue heavyweight campaign against Chisora in London

The undefeated former undisputed cruiserweight world champion will return to the UK as he steps up his bid to become a two-weight king.

Oleksandr Usyk.
Oleksandr Usyk.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

UKRAINIAN POUND-FOR-POUND STAR Oleksandr Usyk will partake in his second prizefight as a heavyweight when he faces British veteran Derek Chisora at The O2 in London, live on Sky Sports Box Office, on 23 May.

The undefeated former undisputed cruiserweight champion [17-0, 13KOs] retired Chazz Witherspoon inside seven rounds in Chicago on his debut among boxing’s big men last October, and will continue his bid to become a two-weight world champion against enigmatic gatekeeper Chisora [32-9, 23KOs], who demolished compatriot David Price that same month.

Usyk, 33, previously fought in the UK at the end of one of boxing’s most remarkable road runs, wiping out Tony Bellew in Manchester in November 2018 following six more consecutive ‘away’ wins in world-title fights.

Chisora, 36, has enjoyed something of a career renaissance in his mid-30s, earning impressive victories in four of his last five fights. The odd one out was a late stoppage defeat to Dillian Whyte in a British fight-of-the-year contender.

boxing-usyk-vs-witherspoon Usyk and Chazz Witherspoon trade in Chicago. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“Boxing in Manchester in 2018 was an amazing experience”, said Usyk. “Now, I get to do it in London at the famous O2 Arena and I can’t wait to fight in front of the British fans once again. As a Cruiserweight, I reached the highest heights as undisputed champion and now I am following the same path as a heavyweight.

“I expect a real test in Chisora – he is strong, tough and resilient.

I recall being an amateur and watching his fight with Vitali Klitschko. It seemed so big and far away. Now I am myself taking a fight against Chisora. I am working hard in my training camp to show a spectacular performance on 23 May. Dear friends, I will see you soon!

“War is coming,” said Chisora. “Usyk reckons he can step up and survive with the big boys. He may be the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world but on 23 May he will find out what it feels like to be hit by a real heavyweight.

“He is coming to my backyard. I’m going to remind him exactly why he did in the cruiserweight division and also get revenge for my boy, Tony Bellew. This will be war.”

o2-arena-boxing Chisora knocks down Artur Szpilka in London. Source: Bradley Collyer

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “This has the potential to be one of the great O2 nights – a heavyweight blockbuster that can only be full of drama.

“Usyk, who has become a UK fans favourite in his own right, did it all at cruiserweight, becoming undisputed world champion in just 15 fights.

“Now he attempts the same feat in the glamour division, with the big boys. Has he bitten off more than he can chew with Del Boy, who has consistently proved the doubters wrong and become one of the toughest, explosive heavyweights in the game? Anything can happen on 23 May. Drop everything and don’t miss it!”

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