Decoding Usyk: David Haye on Chisora’s big night

David Haye is the perfect man to analyse the huge Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora heavyweight showdown on Saturday night.

For Haye once did exactly what Usyk is looking to achieve now – transitioning from a world champion at cruiserweight to a world champion at heavyweight.

Haye overcame an enormous size difference to win a heavyweight world title against Nikolai Valuev in 2009. So he knows exactly the challenges and the pitfalls which await Usyk.

The brilliant Ukrainian southpaw is unbeaten as a professional at 17-0. But his debut against Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago last year proved little. Saturday night, against a big seasoned heavyweight, will tell us much more.

Chisora has blueprint to stun Usyk

Haye, who now manages Chisora, believes his man has what it takes to trouble Usyk. He told Tris Dixon for Ring magazine: “The kind of fighters I struggled with get close, they get into range and force the fight and Dereck at the moment is the ultimate guy in closing the space down and making you fight at a pace you don’t want to fight at.

“I don’t believe Usyk has the firepower to keep Dereck off him, because once he gets close to him he’s going to be hitting anything he can get his hands on.

“It’s very tough [the move from cruiser to heavyweight] if you don’t have dynamite in your fists. If you can’t keep a big man off you with firepower, you’re going to have to learn to fight inside and become an inside fighter and to become an inside fighter at heavyweight when you haven’t been an inside fighter at cruiserweight is a very dangerous game to play.

“It means you’re going to be in range to be hit and a shot from a cruiser is very different to a shot from a [250-pound] man with 10oz gloves on. There are weight classes for a reason.”

Chisora a new man

Haye has been masterminding Chisora’s preparation for this fight for months now – through multiple cancelled dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He believes there has been a big change in the veteran Londoner (32-9). One highlighted by his sparring in recent weeks.

“I don’t think he won a round of sparring before he fought Dillian Whyte,” Haye revealed.

“He was losing every round and I remember watching and I asked Don Charles why he was getting battered and he said, ‘That’s just how he spars. Rarely does he win rounds in sparring.’ What kind of preparation is that? He said he was a fight-night fighter.

“But what he’s done now is win just about every round and that was against fresh guys.”

Usyk vs Chisora will be broadcast live on pay-per-view by Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday night (price £19.95). DAZN meanwhile will stream the bout in its nine markets. They are the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland.

Usyk is the mandatory contender for the WBO world heavyweight title held by Anthony Joshua. A victory would push his claims for an immediate title shot against AJ.