"Oleksandr Usyk deserves his WBO Heavyweight mandatory position," insists David Haye
On Friday, March 13th, Matchroom Sport staged a press conference to officially kick off their promotion for the currently slated May 23rd meeting between former lineal Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0. 13 KO's) and perennial contender Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KO's) at the O2 Arena in London, England.
While this match-up isn't an official WBO title eliminator, both ambitious fighters will be competing for Usyk's current distinction as Anthony Joshua's current WBO mandatory challenger.
Despite having impeccable credentials as both a professional and an amateur, many have criticized the fact that the Ukrainian gold medalist has been elevated to the unified champ's mandatory challenger after one fight within the packed heavyweight division.
Former lineal Cruiserweight and WBA Heavyweight champion David Haye understands and explains why the sanctioning organization's maneuver makes perfect sense.
"When I moved up to compete in the heavyweight division, I fought against Monte "Two Gunz" Barrett, and then was able to compete for the WBA Heavyweight championship against Nikolai Valuev, in just my second fight as a heavyweight," Haye recently stated to "Behind the Gloves".
"Just like me, Usyk never lost his status as a lineal champion. He merely moved up in weight and relinquished his belts...but he's still a unified champion."
"It makes no sense to have a proven champion start at the bottom of a division among a group of prospects when he's already proven himself to be on the of the best fighters in boxing."
Haye unified the Cruiserweight division by defeating incumbent champions Jean Marc Mormeck and Enzo Maccarinelli in succession, before moving up in weight and competing as a heavyweight in 2008. Upon testing his mettle in the sport's glamour division, the popular Briton was 22-0 with 21 KO's.
Haye believes his success in making the transition possibly paved the way for the 33-year-old Ukrainian. Although the former Cruiserweight champion doesn't seem to possess the power David Haye once touted as a heavyweight, "The Hayemaker" believes Usyk has the technical prowess to hold his own in this version of the division.
"He's one of the best pound for pound fighters in boxing," insists Haye. "He has a deep amateur background, he's a former Olympic gold medalist, and he's cleaned out the cruiserweight division. He's already accomplished more than most fighters currently competing in the heavyweight division, so I understand why he's in this position."
"The fact that he's willing to face a fighter like Dereck Chisora when he doesn't really have to indicates that he really wants to prove to his naysayers that he belongs here."
"Thank you very much, Mr. Usyk...we'll see what happens in May."
Tickets for Usyk vs. Chisora are priced as low as £40 and as high as £800, and are on sale now via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk), The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com).