Spong out, Witherspoon in for Usyk’s Heavyweight Debut

On Saturday, October 12th, former undisputed Cruiserweight king, Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12KOs), will take on Chazz “The Gentleman” Witherspoon (38-3, 29KOs) at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Usyk was supposed to face Tyrone Spong (14-0, 13KOs), but Spong popped dirty on a VADA drug test.

Oleksandr Usyk hasn’t fought since knocking out Tony “Bomber” Bellew (30-3-1, 20KOs) in the eighth round back in November of last year. This has been a long awaited heavyweight debut. Usyk was originally supposed to fight Carlos Takam (37-5-1, 28KOs) back in May, but Usyk tore his bicep in training. That fight would have been more intriguing because Takam has fought at the top level before. He lost every major bout against top level competition, but the experience is still there, and would have been a good challenge for Usyk in his heavyweight debut.

Chazz Witherspoon, the cousin of former WBA/WBC heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon, hasn’t had a respectable fight in about seven years. He has 41 professional fights, but no top level opponents outside of Chris Arreola, who was (23-0, 21KOs) at the time. In that fight Witherspoon was knocked down twice in the third round, and his corner entered the ring during the count of the second knockdown and he was disqualified as a result. The one good thing I can offer about Witherspoon is that he does have good power. He has 7 knockouts in his last 8 fights (undefeated in the last 5 years). At heavyweight, we all know that any punch can end a fight. How likely is that to happen here? Very unlikely.

Usyk’s KO win over Tony Bellew.

This should be a rather easy night for Usyk. He is coming off a torn biceps injury and it will be interesting to see if he comes back looking sharp or a little rusty. Even against a lower quality opponent like Witherspoon, will the injury affect his performance? Is he fully recovered like he says he is? Even if the injury hinders him a little bit, he should still dominate this fight. It might be a move up in weight, but Usyk isn’t a small guy and he is very talented. My prediction: Usyk by KO/TKO early to mid rounds.

The fight will be shown on DAZN in North America, and on Sky Sports for UK viewers. The main card will begin at 9:00pm ET. The undercard will begin at 7:00pm ET. Other fights on this card are as follows:

  • Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11KOs) vs. Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15KOs) for Bivol’s Light Heavyweight WBA title.
  • Anthony Sims Jr. (19-0, 17KOs) vs. Morgan Fitch (19-3-1, 8KOs) Super Middleweight
  • Jessica McCaskill (7-2, 3KOs) vs. Erica Farias (26-3, 10KOs) for McCaskill’s WBC/WBA Super Lightweight title.
  • Charles Conwell (10-0, 7KOs) vs. Patrick Day (17-3, 6KOs) Super Welterweight
  • Reshat Mati (3-0, 2KOs) vs. TBA Welterweight
  • Summer Lynn (0-0) vs. Jenna Thompson (1-2-1, 0KOs) Junior Middleweight
  • Josh Hernandez (9-2, 7KOs) vs. Giovanni Mioletti (17-0, 7KOs) Super Featherweight
  • Arthur Biyarslanov (4-0, 4KOs) vs. Javier Martinez (4-7, 3KOs) Junior Welterweight
  • Otha Jones III (3-0, 1KOs) vs. Eric Manriquez (7-8-1, 3KOs) Lightweight

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