Clash originally scheduled for May 23 but was delayed due to Covid and they will instead share ring next month, with venue to be confirmed
Dereck Chisora’s re-arranged appointment with double Olympic champion and undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk has been announced.
It will take place on Saturday, October 31, as a UK Sky Sports Box Office event, with DAZN holding the rights to show it in the USA.
The news came without a venue confirmed. The original match between the pair was to take place on May 23 at Wembley Arena, and the event could still take place there at the end of next month.
Promoter Eddie Hearn had been hoping for a live audience but, given the sudden Covid-19 restrictions on audiences at events, Matchroom Boxing is preparing to go behind closed doors for a second pay-per-view event since lockdown. Dillian Whyte fought, and lost, to Russian Alexander Povetkin late in August in a dramatic box-office event which The Telegraph understands topped over 300,000 subscriptions on Sky Box Office.
Chisora, who has got better with age, is the perfect test for the gifted Ukrainian Usyk, now unbeaten in 17 contests after gold medals at the Beijing and London Games, and quickly installed by the World Boxing Organisation as its heavyweight mandatory contender after just one fight in the division, putting him in position to challenge for the title held by Anthony Joshua.
After unifying the cruiserweight division, Usyk stepped up to heavyweight and stopped Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds at the Wintrust Arena, Chicago, last October and gets a genuine test at the big men with the unpredictable Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs).
The Briton is now a cult hero with boxing fans, and managed by David Haye, his dust-up enemy at a post-fight press conference in Munich many moons ago that led to international police hunts, boxers on the run in the night and the pair settling their beef at Upton Park in July 2012, the last major boxing match in the UK before that glorious summer of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
If Chisora wins against Usyk, he will be on a smash-and-grab raid towards the summit of the division, though he would never fight Joshua. They are too close. They grew up together at Finchley Boxing Club. If Usyk claims the victory, he will be seen as a highly-legitimate world-title challenger at heavyweight, having leapfrogged five or six other contenders.
“I have really missed boxing,” said Usyk. “I am working hard in my training camp to show a spectacular performance on October 31. I expect a real test in Dereck – he is strong, tough and resilient. He is a really big guy and he hits hard.
“As a cruiserweight, I reached the highest heights as undisputed champion and now I am following the same path as a heavyweight. I need to test myself against world-class heavyweights on my new road to undisputed and Dereck stands in front of me.”
Chisora, meanwhile, had a line of his own for the Ukrainian. “I’ve been ready for you all year. It’s my home turf and after such a tough year for everyone, I’m going to give the British public the Halloween party they deserve and finally get revenge for my boy Tony Bellew.”
Promoter Hearn was even more fragrant. “The news from the Government was a kick in the nuts, so to bounce back with this fight at this time is so important for boxing,” he said. “You’ve either got to sit back and say, ‘it’s not possible’, or find a way to make it happen, and I’ve got to say a big thanks to Team Usyk, ‘Del Boy’ and David Haye for staying patient and helping get this over the line.”
“It’s an absolute firecracker and a fight that’s so important to the heavyweight division over the next few months. We saw a stunning victory from Povetkin recently to shake up the mandatory situation. Can Chisora spring the upset and KO the undefeated undisputed world champion [at cruiserweight]? I know he will do everything he can to try and get the victory and this will be another night of heavyweight drama.”