The Ukrainian traditions of ‘Radonitsa’ involve having a picnic in a graveyard as an homage to the historic cults of their ancestors, as well as the belief that plunging into an ice hole can cure all known ailments.
The traditions of Dereck Chsora have involved carrying small lap dogs, dressing eccentrically and marching through the heavyweight division wearing Haggler-esque ‘WAR’ caps. This is the ultimate clash of characters that would have packed out any arena in a nearly normal world. It is testament to the pugilistic pair that they have agreed to let the fans have a decent heavyweight scrap when they could have played the waiting game.
The Joker in Usyk takes a back seat as the real alter-ego emerges from the compact frame of the ex-cruiserweight king. Usyk is regarded as the fresh faced future of the heavyweight division and it remains to be seen if he can follow the same route as the great Evander Holyfield did across the divisions. The progression from cruiser to heavyweight has a great lineage, however the old adage that ‘a good big man will always beat a good little man’ may be going out of style.
Last season’s trends are rarely the next season’s ‘must have’ on the modern boxing scene.
Chisora has always bucked the trend when it comes to what the media expects of him, infamously not playing Eddie Hearn’s supporting role and disrespecting both Klitschkos in one night. He does things his own way and has always possessed a dangerous knack of upsetting the odds.
He has undergone a resurgence of sorts with KO wins against Takam, Szpilka and Price, it is clear that he has trained and taken sparring to a decent standard. However he came up short twice against a hungry contender in Dillian Whyte, and was ironed out flat in their second outing.
Usyk outclassed Breidis and Gassiev at cruiser, whilst shaking the boots of Bellew, but he has not yet had a test against a seasoned heavyweight. I am yet to be convinced of his acceptance into an admittedly shallow division, however the WBC rankings place him firmly at second, in front of Ortiz, Ruiz, Whyte and Parker.
Mauricio Sulaiman's division does require a careful scrutiny of how the ladder to the top spots are negotiated, as any of the four behind him would currently provide a rude awakening into the class of the ‘big men’.
Chisora fights well off the back foot and has made the ropes his safe house from which he carves his openings, perhaps a sign that he has changed his style to suit the longevity of his career. This will make him a sitting duck for the slick hands of Usyk who will relish unloading from all angles at an increasingly static target.
Chisora will wake up occasionally enough to make the Ukrainian think in the opening three or four rounds, but his successes will be short lived.
The upper body movement of Usyk requires some attention to match his neat footwork if he is to avoid the bombs that will be squarely aimed at his targeted features.
If these adaptations are
considered, then this fight should place him firmly on the stage and confirm his ranking amongst the top ten in the governing bodies that seek to profit from this new era. Expect his smiling teeth to be camera ready at around round six as he admires his work and truly arrives with minimal fuss on the heavyweight platform.
He will be best positioned to build up experience before tackling the gypsy king as that is one dance too much at this stage, but the current scene will certainly benefit from his presence for some years to come