Danny Flexen examines Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora and explains why it should be on regular subscription TV
It may be the worst kept secret in boxing. Despite having yet to be officially confirmed, it is widely expected that Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora will take place on May 23 in London and be a Sky Sports Box Office main event. The latter distinction has raised eyebrows so I decided to investigate why.
Who’s the A-side?
There is a strong argument to be made that neither man is a proven pay-per-view draw. Chisora was in a Box Office main event in December 2018 but Dillian Whyte and their compelling rivalry were the greater attractions for the rematch. Usyk, meanwhile, opposed Tony Bellew in a ppv headliner a month before Whyte vs Chisora 2. The Liverpudlian had twice met David Haye on the platform whereas Usyk, despite cruiserweight and WBSS supremacy, was making his UK ppv debut. Bellew was the familiar face. So, in essence, we have two ppv B-sides combining to make an A-side.
If confirmed, Usyk vs Chisora will be the middle of three Sky Sports Box Office shows in seven weeks. As Frank Warren stated in an interview earlier this week, Sky are now ’Competing with themselves.’ The last of these ppv cards, topped by Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev, is wholly justified. Joshua is the unified world heavyweight champion, the biggest superstar in British boxing and a long established Box Office main eventer. The May 2 Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin clash pits two of the planet’s 10 best fighters in the same glamour division and has already been bolstered by a very solid undercard. Chisora, while employing an entertaining style and on a good run of form, has lost most of his biggest fights, while undeniably excellent Usyk laboured in his heavyweight debut. In a period where we have a glut of PPVs, fans are entitled to ask ’Which of these is different to the rest?’
What’s it for?
It always helps to have a prize beyond money, something the fighters are competing for. There will be no major titles at stake for Usyk vs Chisora, and an upset victory over the latter arguably does little for Dereck’s heavyweight standing. Usyk can prove with a win that he can beat a much naturally larger man, albeit with plenty of miles on the clock. Haye vs Bellew set the bar for ppv main events that exist outside of the normal boxing dynamic, but that matched two well-known names, former world champions and extrovert personalities. This does not.