Oleksandr Usyk is set to take his mandatory shot for the heavyweight title but if his fight against Derek Chisora was anything, the Ukrainian still has a fair way to go.
Usyk remained undefeated as he triumphed 117-112, 115-113 and 115-113 on points.
The fight was scheduled for earlier this year before a COVID-19 delay.
Usyk is already the mandatory challenger to WBO champion Anthony Joshua and is now forming a challenger to the great heavyweight triangle of Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder – but he needs to step up after he has proven himself at cruiserweight.
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Now, the undefeated Ukrainian’s plan to defeat Joshua is imminent, but complications remain with the reported heavyweight title bout agreements between AJ and Fury.
In this situation, Usyk is likely to call on Joshua to vacate the WBO title and fight the winner of the Fury-Joshua fight.
Fury said earlier this week that Usyk is the only other current fighter who can beat Wilder as he can handle power punchers.
He withstood a lot of pressure against Chisora early on, in order to tire the big man and stay ahead.
But he couldn’t really hurt Chisora and he lacked the aggression that he could expect from the true heavyweight hits.
AJ didn’t look too worried either, according to Sky Sports expert Johnny Nelson.
Joshua was present on an espionage mission ahead of a possible fight with Usky, but was “skipped” after the result was announced.
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As expected, Chisora went to the power play early and tried to land a knockout blow.
He rallied Usyk with a hook that momentarily unbalanced the Ukrainian and landed a strong right hand to gain the upper hand in the first.
Chisora later knocked Usyk to the ground in the fourth while his right hand continued to pose a threat as he was punished for his mistakes by the 36-year-old.
But then fatigue set in as Usyk withstood the early onslaught and moved quickly, choosing his moments to punch punches through Chisora’s defense.
Usyk immediately turned the tables by testing Chisora’s stamina and willpower, frustrating him with constant thrusts that invited inaccurate hooks from his opponent.
Chisora did not want to give in and continued his thrust, but Usyk clearly had a few more corridors left, which in the later stages of the seventh came to life with stabbing shots that stunned Chisora.
Some said it was a happy time that the bell rang concerned about how long Chisora might have lasted.
To his credit, Chisora recovered to stay in battle.
Persistent and resilient was the best way to describe his efforts against Usyk.
Usyk had the skills and the sideways movement, but Chisora’s power play was a big test in his first fight since gaining weight.
It was a huge challenge for him and it was revealed that some indicated that there were clear signs that Usyk needs to improve dramatically if he has a strong chance against AJ and Fury.
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