Oleksandr Usyk versus Dereck Chisora: Contrasting types ought to ship Halloween fireworks
Dereck Chisora made his intentions clear prior to the heavyweight clash with Oleksandr Usyk, who plans to make a statement to the rest of the division on Saturday.
A fascinating conflict between contrasting styles should take place earlier this year just for the coronavirus pandemic to force a delay. Now the stage is ready, a fight is taking place at Wembley Arena that should be worth the wait.
Usyk, who was already the mandatory challenger to WBO champion Anthony Joshua, built his reputation in the professional cruiserweight game to become the undisputed champion of the division. He's only fought once since he decided to gain weight and posted a seventh-round stop against Chazz Witherspoon over a year ago.
Chisora - ready for a 42nd fight in a career in which he shared a ring (twice) with Tyson Fury, David Haye and Vitali Klitschko – will present a different challenge.
The 36-year-old has admitted there is no way he can hope to outsmart an opponent who won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics during his amateur career. Instead, his plan is to drag Usyk into deep waters to see if he can swim against the tide.
If this wasn't already made clear enough in a setup where the two of them bumped each other weirdly on social media, Chisora made this absolutely clear by painting "WAR" on his chest for the weigh-in, all part of a Halloween makeover for a fight that will take place on October 31st.
"I would prefer him to turn me off than I do nothing," Chisora told Sky Sports on Friday after the last opportunity of direct media work before the main event. “Either I'll turn him off or he'll stop in his chair. That's what we want.
"I'm fit and you will be very surprised what happens in the ring."
Usyk also stood out at the weigh-in and came into play with a career-heavy weight of 216 pounds. It was 27 pounds lighter than what Chisora hit on the scales, but that was to be expected.
So is the script for the main event. Chisora's plan is obvious – Usyk needs to find a way to not only meet the ongoing pressures, but also combat them effectively. In terms of their methods, these two are on the opposite end of the boxing spectrum, but mixing them together should make for quite a spectacle even with no fans around.
The couple has already kept the crowd entertained with their online interactions and prefight meetings – now expect fireworks when it comes to serious business.
DAZN's stream of the card begins at 2 p.m. ET.
Usyk has a flawless record of 17 fights among professionals after an outstanding amateur career.
Tony Bellew promised to "get the monster" when he battled Usyk in the cruiserweight division in November 2018. Instead, he was stopped in the eighth and joined a notable list of names in the division to lose to the 33-year-old who was also Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck.
His pedigree shouldn't be questioned, but Usyk has yet to prove that he'll be fine after moving to the heavyweight ranks.
Chisora has won three fights. In his most recent success, he stopped his Briton David Price within four laps. Before that, there was a spectacular knockout from Artur Szpilka while he also found a way to beat long-lived Carlos Takam in the distance.
Both clashes with Dillian Whyte were superb to watch, but he came out on the wrong side of the result, while also losing to Kubrat Pulev on points in 2016. Will Chisora continue to be the valiant loser or could this be a statement win? that gives him a title chance?
Story from the tape
Age: 33 years
Weight: 220 pounds
Reach: 78 inches
Professional record: 17-0 (13 KOs)
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight
Age: 36 years
Height: 6-1 1/2
Weight: 256 pounds
Reach: 74 inches
Professional record: 32-9 (23 KOs)
Major career titles: British, Commonwealth Heavyweight
Lee Selby and George Kambosos Jr. are the main support, the easy duo meet in an eliminator for the IBF title from Teofimo Lopez.
Australian Kambosos has an 18-0 record in the competition while Selby is a former featherweight champion hoping to make waves after advancing.
Savannah Marshall and Hannah Rankin will also face the vacant WBO middleweight belt in action.
The couple were supposed to face each other on October 17, only to be canceled when Peter Fury – Marshall's trainer – tested positive for the coronavirus. Fortunately, there wasn't a long delay in finding a new date.
Popular heavyweight David Allen should be on the bill in action only to call off a last-minute fight with Christopher Lovejoy. Originally Christian Hammer was supposed to be Allen's opponent, but had to withdraw because of COVID-19.
What the fighters have to say
Usyk on the move to the heavyweight division: "If the king of the animals were considered according to his size, it would be an elephant, not the lion. An elephant is a friend of the mouse!"
Chisora on the task he is facing: "I need a fair referee. I want this fight to be fair. I don't want to dance or wrestle. I want us both to work fairly. I have to keep marching forward. He I'll try to get myself wrong, but I'm ready. "
David Haye, Chisora's sponsor: "It's getting very rough, very fast. Will Usyk drown in heavy water? Chisora can absorb a disgusting amount of punishment. How deep can Usyk search for souls? How much does he want it? Things come for Usyk easier. I see Chisora causing one of the greatest disturbances on British soil that has ever been. "
Anthony Joshua to Sky Sports on Usyk: "Sometimes I know that I have to sit on my feet and injure someone. You have to let him know that you are there because all that stuff is so bad after 12 rounds? Sometimes they do People don't. " I don't respect that kind of power. "