Can Usyk compete at heavyweight? Carl Froch verdict

Oleksandr Usyk has a huge Halloween showdown with Dereck Chisora coming up and it will give us a good idea if the former cruiserweight king can be an elite heavyweight according to Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch.

Froch says the eagerly-awaited October 31 clash is a “welcome to the heavyweight division party” for the Ukrainian superstar (17-0), who is a heavy 1/8 favourite with the bookmakers.

‘The Cobra’, former world super-middleweight champion, told IFL TV: “We’re gonna find out now if Usyk belongs at heavyweight. I don’t wanna say that Dereck Chisora’s just cannon fodder, or he’s just a stepping stone, or just a tester, the first test. Everybody’s making Usyk favourite, everybody except from David Haye (Chisora’s manager).

“You can’t really argue that Usyk’s got the class, the quality, the ability, the skills, the foot movement, the speed – if you wanna start breaking¬† down everything that he does well you can do. But he’s very very talented, very very good.”

Usyk has so far just had the one fight in boxing’s marquee weight class, a comfortable defeat of Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago last October. Froch believes a night in the ring Chisora will tell us much much more about his prospects for future glory.

Usyk question marks

“The massive question mark, which I have to agree with David Haye, we don’t know if he belongs at heavyweight, we don’t know if he can perform at heavyweight,” said Froch.

“He’s had one fight at heavyweight, not beat anybody at heavyweight that makes you think ‘ooh dear, he’s a threat, he’s a threat to AJ, Wilder, Dubois, Tyson Fury’ because that’s where we’re looking, that’s where we’re thinking that Usyk maybe can challenge. Them kind of opponents.

“And this fight with Dereck Chisora, if he can do the business against somebody big and strong and bolshy, somebody that’s coming forward who’s gonna be coming to win and use everything they’ve got in their toolbox. And everything in their advantage.”

YouTube video

Size matters for Chisora

Chisora is likely to be around three stones heavier than Usyk come fight night, and Froch expects him to use those physical adavantages to the max – especially early in the fight.

“Dereck Chisora knows he’s bigger and stronger and heavier, he knows this, and he’s gonna use that, especially early on. Sticking it on Usyk, putting it on him. But educated, not rushing it, not being stupid. But putting the pressure on Usyk – leaning on him, grabbing him where he can, bullying him around a bit, giving him little slaps round the side of the head where he can, round the body, back of the rib cage.

“All the tricks he needs to be sticking on Usyk early without being careless, and he’s got a chance. Of course he’s got a chance, it’s heavyweight boxing. We don’t actually know if it is heavyweight boxing for Usyk, we’re gonna find out aren’t we. But this is what we wanna find out. Can Usyk compete with a very good heavyweight? And you’ve got to say Dereck Chisora is a very good heavyweight.”

The venue for Usyk vs Chisora has yet to be confirmed, but the bout will air on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view in the UK and on DAZN in the United States.