The eagerly-awaited Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora heavyweight showdown WILL happen on Saturday October 31 according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
It had looked likely the fight would have to be delayed after the latest round of Government regulations on COVID-19 were introduced yesterday (Tuesday).
But Hearn took to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm the fight will happen on Halloween as a pay-per-view event in the UK on Sky Sports Box Office, while streaming platform DAZN will show the bout in the United States.
He revealed gleefully: “Shamone Motherf*ckers! It’s on!!! Time to hit the accelerator not the breaks! #UsykChisora @skysportsboxing @dazn_usa.”
Usyk (17-0) has fought only once at heavyweight since making the step up from dominating at cruiserweight – a victory over Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago last year. The showdown with battle-hardened former world title challenger Chisora (32-9) will provide his first stern test in boxing’s marquee weight division.
Shamone Motherf*ckers! It’s on!!! Time to hit the accelerator not the breaks! #UsykChisora @skysportsboxing @dazn_usa 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/mrdECaqXqa
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) September 23, 2020
Usyk vs Chisora is also key to the evolving plot surrounding a possible Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua superfight in 2021.
The Ukrainian southpaw is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO world heavyweight title and pushing for a shot at AJ assuming the Watford man negotiates his December 12 showdown with IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev.
If both Usyk and Joshua prevail before the end of this year, a Joshua vs Usyk fight could potentially delay or scupper that potential unification match between the two British world heavyweight champions. Hearn of course promotes Joshua as well as being co-promoter for Usyk.
“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 Derek – 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 Derek stands in front of me.
“Many people say that Derek is a monster, but deep down he is a kind man. I don’t expect to see that good side of him. I know that he wants to break me, but I am water, wind and fire all together. Derek Chisora, I am coming for you!”
Chisora meanwhile said: “Usyk, 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!
Hearn said: “Yesterday’s 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.
🎃A HALLOWEEN TREAT AWAITS…
A night not for the faint-hearted😬 pic.twitter.com/DT1GW9GJX5
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) September 23, 2020
“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.”
Usyk vs Chisora also adds to what is shaping up to be a stacked end-of-the-year schedule for the heavyweight division – despite the ongoing global pandemic.
As yet there is no venue confirmed but the new Government restrictions unveiled by Boris Johnson on Tuesday means it is likely the fight would have to take place behind closed doors if it is in the UK.