Oleksandr Usyk is “a genius” admits Eddie Hearn, but the promoter says the Ukrainian maestro must now show toughness to match his unquestionable skills.
Usyk puts his WBO heavyweight mandatory challenger status on the line against Dereck Chisora at the SSE Arena at Wembley in London on Saturday night. The bout will air live on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view in the UK (price £19.95) and DAZN in the United States.
Should Usyk emerge victorious he expects an immediate shot at the WBO belt held by Anthony Joshua. But Hearn says he has plenty to prove in boxing’s marquee weight class, starting on Saturday.
“What do we know about Usyk? Genius. Amazing footwork. Punch selection, timing, mental capacity,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
How tough is Usyk at heavyweight?
“What we don’t know? How tough he is under heavyweight firepower.
“When he boxed Chazz Witherspoon there were a few signs that he didn’t like what was coming back. Witherspoon is nowhere near as good or fast as Chisora.
“There are a lot of questions for Usyk to answer at heavyweight but he is a genius who will go down as one of the greatest fighters of our generation.”
Chisora (32-9) is a seasoned veteran who has fought at the highest level, but he is a big underdog on Saturday. And Hearn admits a victory for ‘Del Boy’ would be a huge upset.
“This will be one of the greatest wins from a British fighter of all time if Chisora pulls it off.
“Last week he saw Vasiliy Lomachenko, a close friend and almost a brother [of Usyk], get beaten. These are deep thinkers so the momentum of the past few weeks is with Chisora.
“It’s so transparent what Chisora must do – find a way into Usyk’s chest and do not stop punching, make it horrible, make it dirty, whip them into his body and arms, to his head, anywhere. Easier said than done because Usyk’s footwork is so good.
“Chisora will get pinged from angles he didn’t know existed, but he must keep at it.”
A victory for Usyk of course would muddy the waters just a little for that potential Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua showdown. AJ would have to decide whether to face the Ukrainian, or vacate his WBO belt to move on to Fury.