Oleksandr Usyk stops Chazz Witherspoon for easy victory in heavyweight debut
The former cruiserweight king easily handled late-notice replacement Witherspoon
Chazz Witherspoon, taking a fight with former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk on short notice, was forced to retire on his stool after Round 7 of their main event from Chicago. Witherspoon stepped in on late-notice following Tyrone Spong's failed VADA drug test and simply had nothing for the first man to ever capture all four major championships at cruiserweight.
Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) was too fast, too technically sound and in too good of shape for Witherspoon (38-4, 29 KOs), who landed few shots through seven rounds. It wasn't a thrilling effort from Usyk, who was making his debut at heavyweight, but he was never in danger throughout the fight.
"I did what my trainer told me to do," Usyk said after the TKO win. "I just followed orders. We had a plan and the plan was to box and I did box. If there was an opportunity, I would use that opportunity."
Usyk's jabs and straight lefts to the body of Witherspoon added up throughout the fight, adding extra strain for Witherspoon, who was already battling a lack of preparation for the bout. There were multiple times where Usyk appeared to let Witherspoon off the hook when trapped in the corner. Despite the slow action, the strong Eastern European contingent in Chicago supported the heavy favorite from the opening bell.
While it wasn't as flashy or quick as many thought it would be, Usyk was never in danger from the opening bell and took his time picking apart Witherspoon.
"I'm feel," Usyk said. "I'm very feel. I am happy. I was waiting for this moment, we had some difficulty because we had to change opponent.
"Yes, there is a little bit of difference [fighting at heavyweight]. But I used to fight as a heavyweight. But, yes, it is different."
Because of his status as "super champion" at cruiserweight, Usyk is the mandatory for the WBO heavyweight title, which will be contested on Dec. 7 in a rematch between champ Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua. While his win over Witherspoon wasn't the electric performance many had expected, Usyk said he's happy to take a fight with the winner in an attempt to win heavyweight gold.
"I'm ready to fight them," Usyk said. "If they're going to give it to me, of course I'm going to take it."
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