Derek Chisora and Oleksandr Usyk will finally go toe-to-toe in their fascinating heavyweight showdown on Saturday night.
The months waiting around for this one has only added to the anticipation with plenty of unanswered questions around the fight.
Usyk is the smaller, slicker, well-schooled former cruiserweight king who has vowed to box and move his way to victory. He is the heavy favourite but this is just his second fight at heavyweight and he is up against a bigger man in Chisora who has bags of experience, looks more determined than ever and is coming with the intention of inflicting some damage.
So who will come out on top? Will it be the boxer or the bruiser? Sportsmail has spoken to pundits, promoters and former world champion boxers to get their take on this intriguing heavyweight clash.
Oleksandr Usyk and Derek Chisora and weighed-in and ready to rock on Saturday night
Frank Warren, promoter
I fancy Usyk to beat him, either late stoppage or on points. Usyk has come up from cruiserweight and his first fight was against Chazz Witherspoon, who I think had been out for around two years before that, and he didn’t look that good. Usyk is what 32, 33, as well and it’s not like he’s a comfortable heavyweight.
But Derek has got to press him and really impose himself and take him out of his comfort zone. But it’s whether or not he can do that because every big fight he’s been involved in, every single time he’s been asked to step up to the plate he fails. Usyk wins, the only chance Derek has got is if he’s not comfortable at heavyweight. That’s the only way I can see it because every big fight he’s had, he’s never done the business.
Frank Warren can’t see Chisora wining because he’s always failed in his previous big fights
Adam Smith, head of boxing at Sky Sports
I think it’s a fascinating fight for a number of reasons. Oleksandr Usyk is one of the greatest fighters I’ve seen as an amateur and a pro for many, many years.
He’s mobile, he’s quick, he’s intelligent in the ring, a very dangerous southpaw and the one thing we need to know now is whether or not he can go on and win a heavyweight world title.
I wasn’t that impressed with him against Chazz Witherspoon, but this is the opportunity now to see him against a big, free-flowing heavyweight in Derek Chisora. He obviously starts the big favourite but Chisora has had a terrific training camp for almost a year now.
I think he has been revived under David Haye’s watchful eye and I think he will be in the best physical and mental shape he could possibly be in for this fight but at 36 and with nine defeats on the record, it’s obviously a very tough ask for Derek at this stage. But he has a wealth of heavyweight experience having been in with Haye and Fury and Klitschko and so many others that you can’t write him off at all.
Sky Sports’ head of boxing Adam Smith feels Oleksandr Usyk will have too much for Del Boy
He has to make sure that he puts Usyk under the cosh early. I think the worry from Chisora’s camp is if Usyk stands his ground and is sort of picking him apart because Derek gets in a heap of trouble when he gets backed up but I think if he can maintain what I’ve seen him do in training then he will bring a lot of fire and a lot of heat. This will tell us where Usyk is going to really be as a heavyweight.
It’s been a strange year, there’s not going to be any crowd, you know Usyk hasn’t fought in a year and he’s had his injury troubles and his best mate lost last week (Lomachenko) who was also going up against the bigger guy in Teofimo Lopez.
We saw Dillian Whyte come a cropper against Alexander Povetkin, you can’t count anything out in heavyweight boxing. Add Halloween to it and an eerie atmosphere and you just never know. I think Derek will give it his all but you have got to lean towards the skill and quality of Usyk.
Verdict: Leaning towards Usyk
Daniel Dubois, heavyweight prospect
Usyk is a smart fighter, he has got superb feet and movement but Del Boy might just be too powerful for him. Chisora will be going for it and Usyk will need to look out for that big overhand right!
Daniel Dubois believes Chisora could prove to be too strong for Ukrainian star Usyk
Bob Arum, promoter
I know Usyk personally and I’m a big fan of him. I think he’s a superb fighter and I would go with him. I don’t know if it will be a stoppage, he’s just a great boxer and I don’t know what kind of chin Chisora has but I would go for Usyk to win the fight.
Promoter Bob Arum is backing Usyk to outpoint Chisora in their fight on Saturday night
David Haye, former world champion and Chisora’s manager
I know Usyk doesn’t expect him to give him the fight of his life here so that works in our favour. I know Uysk hasn’t really taken Chisora seriously.
I was speaking to Usyk’s manager and he said he had a nightmare about the fight last night. And I said: “What happened? Did he have a nightmare Derek won?” And he said: “No, he won on a split decision”. His nightmare was winning on a split decision. Imagine that, imagine being that confident.
There is no other way for Derek to do it, he has to turn it into a street fight, into a war. At some stage Usyk is going to slow down and Derek is going to catch him. You can’t keep Derek Chisora off you for 36 minutes, particularly when he’s going to be carrying that extra weight than what he’s used to.
It’s going to take more than a flicky jab and a feint to keep Derek Chisora off you. Everyone Usyk has fought has shown him huge respect but Derek isn’t going to do that. We are coming here to do damage and as early as possible. Derek has got to take him to a place he hasn’t been before and to do that he needs to lean on him, throw punches from awkward angles and I think between six and eight rounds he will get the stoppage.
David Haye insisted Chisora – who he manages – will spring a surprise and stop Usyk
Anthony Crolla, former lightweight world champion
I think Usyk wins by late stoppage or points. I think the sensible money would be there but it will be a very, very spirited effort from Del Boy. I think Usyk is going to move his feet and I think we’re going to see a heavyweight moving like a middleweight in there but Derek won’t stop trying until the very end.
Carl Froch, former world champion and Sky Sports boxing analyst
The only way Derek can win it is by knockout and by knockout I mean knockout. He’s got to have to beat him up and catch him with a shot. He’s not going to outbox him or force a stoppage unless he hits him with a barrage of punches but Usyk is too quick for that.
It’s going to be a knockout to Chisora or a points win for Usyk. It’s difficult because it’s his first time at heavyweight and I’ve got reservations. If I’m putting percentages on this, it’s 60-40 in Usyk’s favour but it’s only his second fight at heavyweight but the smart money would be on him because superior boxing skills and talent in a boxing ring.
It’s different if it’s on the cobbles, in a boxing ring there are rules and Usyk is a phenomenal talent and I like to think a phenomenally talented boxer will win a boxing match. So Usyk to win on points or late stoppage, but he might get absolutely ironed out if he tries to go for a stoppage.
Carl Froch has reservations about Usyk at heavyweight but says smart money would be on him
Darren Barker, former middleweight world champion
I’m backing Usyk to win on points but Del is going to bring it and I will be cheering him on!
David Diamante, ring announcer
I’m announcing the fight, so I will not make a prediction. What I will say though, is that this is an intriguing match-up that has important implications in the always exciting, ever shifting, post-Klitschko heavyweight era.
We’ve seen the 3-headed monster (Joshua, Wilder, Fury) lose a head, and now Joshua and Fury seem to be on a collision course to determine the heavyweight kingpin.
However, will there be a new player at the upper echelon of the heavyweight division? Depending on the outcome of this fight and how Oleksander Usyk looks above 14 stone 4 lbs, we might have a new serious contender for the most revered sporting title on the planet… heavyweight champion of the world.
Verdict: On the fence
Ring announcer David Diamante predicts an interesting fight between Chisora and Usyk
Spencer Fearon, former boxer and ESPN pundit
I remember three years ago when Derek fought Kabayel, he was soundly outpointed. He didn’t have Don Charles in his corner who had been a father figure and mentor to him but regardless of that he boxed terrible and it showed us that Derek doesn’t handle movers very well along with the Tyson Fury fight but Tyson Fury is a different class.
But If we are to look at someone who understands the fundamentals of boxing to it’s core, it would be Oleksandr Usyk. Oleksandr Usyk has got ridiculous talent. He didn’t impress me against Chazz Witherspoon, he looked disgusting in that fight, I think he even got cut. I’m going to give him a free pass on that. I was not impressed with the heavyweight Usyk but if we look at skillset, Usyk is head and shoulders above Kabayel. So there lies what I’m saying and also Derek Chisora doesn’t have the technical ability of Tony Bellew, who understands the fundamentals of boxing.
Derek doesn’t. So the only way I can see Derek winning is by a cut. It would have to be one of his overhand rights otherwise I can’t see anything else than him being soundly outpointed. It doesn’t mean I don’t want him to win, I do, badly, but I don’t think he has the ability to deal with Usyk’s skills.
Sal Jobe, boxing agent
Usyk is naturally a cruiserweight, so he can’t win a power war with Chisora, but he will win if he keeps his distance and uses that smart boxing brain he displayed when he beat Tony Bellew.
The Heavyweight fight between Oleksandr Usyk v Derek Chisora is available on Sky Sports Box Office to Sky and non-Sky customers from £19.95 / €24.95. For more information on how to watch, go to skysports.com/boxoffice