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Swift heavyweight debut for Usyk? Get Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon tips

Leigh Copson 10 Oct 2019
Oleksandr Usyk (credit:Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images)

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon predictions for the heavyweight fight on Saturday, October 12. Oleksandr Usyk makes his eagerly-awaited heavyweight debut in Chicago – will he make quick work of Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon

The cruiserweight division has been the home to some big names and elite talents over the years, but not even Evander Holyfield managed to achieve what Oleksandr Usyk did in that weight class. The 32-year-old Ukrainian needed just 10 professional fights and three years to become a world champion in the division, and by July 2018 he had made history by becoming the first man to unify the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and WBO belts. Usyk had successfully mowed through the best the division had to offer as part of the World Boxing Super Series and when he took out former champion Tony Bellew inside eight rounds last November, and post-fight all of the talk was about him making the jump to heavyweight where he could challenge for more titles.

Usyk was soon handed a solid assignment in his first outing among the big boys in boxing, a meeting with former heavyweight title contender Carlos Takam in May of this year, but the ex-cruiserweight kingpin had to pull out of the bout due to a bicep injury and the two parties then failed to agree terms for a rescheduled bout in September. That left Matchroom Boxing looking for a new opponent for its newest heavyweight star and there was the option of putting him in the ring with the winner of the world title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr on June 1 because the WBO allows ‘super’ champions to become the mandatory contender to a world title when they move weight class. That option was not taken up though and it was announced that Usyk would make his heavyweight bow by taking on experienced combat sports star Tyrone Spong in Chicago on October 12.

I described Spong as a ‘combat sports star’ because he has done it all over the years. He went 91-7-1 (1 No Contest) during a glittering kickboxing career and during his final few years as a kickboxer the 34-year-old Surinamese fighter crossed over into mixed martial arts where he went a perfect 2-0 while fighting under the ‘World Series Of Fighting’ banner. A knockout loss to Gokhan Saki in April 2014 signalled the end of his kickboxing and MMA careers though and in March 2015 he embarked on a professional boxing career that has seen him go 14-0 to this date, with 13 of his victories coming via stoppage. However, none of those opponents were anywhere near the level of Usyk so despite all of his fighting experience, it is not unfair to say that Spong was out of his depth as he prepared to step inside the ring with the cruiserweight legend.

Not only did Usyk reign supreme in his former division, he came into the professional ranks after a stellar amateur career that saw him go 335-15 and win gold medals at the 2008 European Championships, the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games. Spong, of course, has got nowhere there that level of experience in the ‘sweet science’. And when it comes to in-ring talents, Usyk is a light years ahead of the Suriname-born fighter. He is a patient, highly-skilled technician who can fight on the front foot or the back foot. He boasts great speed for a man his size and is able to land punches from all sorts of angles you would not normally expect from a heavyweight fighter. You also have to believe that his punching power will translate to his new division, so how could Spong possibly hope to spring a gigantic upset here?

Well, he never even game himself an opportunity, failing a drugs test on the eve of the fight that left promoter Eddie Hearn scrambling for a new opponent. That replacement is Chazz Witherspoon. The 38-year-old is much more experienced than Spong in the professional boxing ring, but I am still expecting Usyk to make swift work of his heavyweight debut. Witherspoon is enjoying an eight-fight win streak that dates back to 2014, but he has not fought anyone of note in that time and when ‘The Gentleman’ has fought a name that stands out in his career, it has tended to end with the referee counting him out. Two of his three professional defeats have come via knockout, with his most recent one coming inside three rounds at the hands of little-known Seth Mitchell, and that should become three in four here. Usyk scout his opponent in the first round, figure him out, pick him apart and put him away to signal his arrival in the heavyweight division with an early stoppage success.

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Swift heavyweight debut for Usyk? Get Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon tips

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon predictions for the heavyweight fight on Saturday, October 12.

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