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Usyk v Witherspoon

Oleksandr Usyk will make his long-awaited heavyweight debut this Saturday against very late replacement Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena, in Chicago, Illinois. Witherspoon replaces Tyrone Spong on less than one week’s notice.

Spong (14-0, 13 KOs), a former kickboxer, was pulled from the fight after failing a performance-enhancing drug test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Spong disputed the result but was removed from the fight nonetheless.

Ukraine’s Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs), the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, will now face the 38-year old Witherspoon (38-3, 29 KOs), a cousin to former WBA/WBC heavyweight champion Tim “Terrible” Witherspoon.

Usyk was originally supposed to face Carlos Takam (37-5-1, 28 KOs) on May 25 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. However, Usyk suffered a biceps injury postponing the fight until September and then it was off.

It’s expected to be a matchup to help prepare the former unified cruiserweight champion to possibly face the winner of December’s rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

The fact that the 32-year old Usyk (16-0, 12 Kos) was made the WBO mandatory challenger despite having never competed in the weight class speaks volumes about his lofty standing among the world’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Usyk’s impressive career has been well chronicled since his heavyweight gold medal win at the 2012 Olympics. He went on to unify all belts in the four-belt era with a unanimous decision over Murat Gassiev in the final of the World Boxing Super Series in July 2018.

His lone defense came via a crushing eighth-round knockout over Tony Bellew that November before relinquishing the titles to move up to the heavyweight division.

Witherspoon has only fought twice in the last three years with one of those being a March TKO win over Santander Silgado. However, huge questions surround is conditioning but he is obviously healthy enough to pass a basic physical exam.

Chazz was a promising prospect 11 years ago at 23-0 when he was disqualified after three rounds against former world title challenger Chris Arreola in June 2008. Arreola had Witherspoon in all sorts of trouble during that fight, sending him down twice in the third round before his corner entered the ring to help him to his corner after the second knockdown, which resulted in the DQ.

He won his next three fights before suffering a TKO at the hands of Tony “the Tiger” Thompson in the ninth round. He fought on and off before losing for the third time to Seth Mitchell in April 2012.

In his biggest fights, Witherspoon has consistently come up short. His most recent wins have all come against unremarkable competition so it will be an exceptionally tall order for him to prepare properly for a talent like Usyk in just a few days.

 

Oleksandr Usyk

16 0 0
12 KOs 0 KOs

Pro Boxing

 rating

 

 bouts 16
 rounds 125
 KOs 75%
 status active
 career 2013-2018
 birth name  Олександр Олександрович Усик
 born 1987-01-17 / age 32
 nationality

Ukraine

 debut 2013-11-09
 division cruiser
 stance southpaw
 height 6′ 3″   /   190cm
 reach

78″   /   198cm
 residence

Kiev, Ukraine

 birth place

Ukraine