Oleksandr Usyk defeats Chazz Witherspoon in heavyweight debut

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon

Oleksandr Usyk has cemented a fight for the WBO heavyweight title in 2020 after his seventh round stoppage victory against substitute opponent Chazz Witherspoon.

The unified cruiserweight champion defeated Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois via stoppage after Witherspoon's corner conceded the fight at the end of the seventh.

The Ukrainian’s speed from his hands and movement on his feet ultimately caused the 38 year-old American problems as Usyk landed punches at will, before the fight was ended.

The victory for the unified cruiserweight champion was a textbook display that we have all come to expect from him as he dismantled Witherspoon, who weighed in a whole two-and-a-half stone heavier than his opponent.

Witherspoon started the contest the livelier of the two fighters, with Usyk initially struggling to find his range with his left hand with the former taking advantage, landing some heavy shots.

Usyk was heavily marked up above his right eye from the punches he received from Witherspoon in the opening rounds, and he tried to counter the size difference by pinning his opponent in the corner, something he had to quickly stop after eating a right hand from the giant American he did not see coming.

As the rounds wore on, the out of shape Witherspoon started to slow and Usyk’s speed became too much for him, with the American struggling to keep up with the pace.

Usyk continued to land shots at will in the sixth round as the referee considered stopping the fight, before letting the contest go another round.

He continued his barrage of punches in the search for a knockout in the seventh round of unanswered shots, before Witherspoon's corner eventually took the decision to pull him out of the fight after he could not get up off his stool.

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon

The Ukrainian last year became the undisputed cruiserweight champion, winning the Super Series, and immediately signalled his intentions to challenge in the heavyweight division.

He currently sits as mandatory challenger to Andy Ruiz Jr’s WBO heavyweight championship, who will face Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia on December 7 in a hotly anticipated rematch.

Whilst this will go down as a victory in the heavyweight division for Usyk, it will be interesting to see how he will fare against more experienced and skilled heavyweights such as Ruiz Jr or Joshua for example.

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