Oleksandr Usyk made clear his desire to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world after outpointing Dereck Chisora at Wembley Arena.
Usyk improved his professional record to 18-0 as the Ukrainian won by unanimous decision to maintain his position as mandatory challenger for the WBO title, currently held by Anthony Joshua.
Chisora made life tough during 12 watchable rounds that were streamed live on DAZN, yet failed to truly pin down the elusive Usyk, whose boxing skills clearly impressed all three judges on duty.
Despite appearing to have his experienced rival hurt on more than one occasion, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion was taken the distance in just his second outing in the division.
While one official had it comfortably in Usyk’s favor with a 117-112 score, the other two cards had it closer at 115-113.
Asked in his postfight interview on Sky Sports Box Office if he still believes he can reign at heavyweight, Usyk replied: “Not just world champion, the undisputed world champion [is my aim].”
True to his word, Chisora — who had painted “WAR” across his chest for the weigh-in after plenty of social media sparring between the pair throughout the build-up — went on the attack from the outset.
However, his attempts to put the pressure on — particularly in the opening rounds — met with limited success. Instead, Usyk’s nimble footwork and noticeable hand speed allowed him to stay out of trouble for the most part.
There was a brief trip to the canvas in the fourth, albeit only due to a slip as he lost his footing, and the occasional complaint about being hit with low blows.
Chisora’s early exploits took a toll as the rounds ticked by, with Usyk appearing to have his foe reeling back against the ropes towards the end of the seventh round in particularly, the bell arriving just in time to help the Englishman out of what seemed to be a serious spot of bother.
Yet Chisora showed tremendous durability and plenty of heart to keep going through to the final bell, enjoying fleeting moments of success in the closing rounds when occasionally switching to the body.
Usyk, though, came through the examination to prevail on points in front of the watching Joshua, who was at ringside to see up close a potential future opponent in action.
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