Oleksandr Usyk continues his pursuit of the heavyweight champions with a hard-fought win against Derek Chisora.

In his second outing at heavyweight, former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, moves one step closer to a world title shot with a unanimous decision win against Derek Chisora.

Although Usyk was the clear favourite going in, there were questions as to whether he would struggle against the big men. Chisora, who has spent his career at heavyweight, weighed in almost two and a half stone heavier than Usyk, and while it's fair to say that nobody believed he could outbox the Ukrainian, there was always the chance that size and brute strength would level the playing field. Usyk, however, proved tonight that if size and strength are the keys to beating him, it's going to take someone bigger and stronger than Chisora.

Chisora did exactly as he said he would, setting a relentless pace and trying to walk through Usyk to get his punches off. The fight was much closer than expected, with Chisora having some success, but he had to expend a lot of energy to achieve it.

Historically, Chisora has thrived on the energy of an audience, and though we can speculate on the effect that an empty arena may have had on him, it's difficult to imagine the fight having played out any other way regardless - the constant movement from Usyk had Chisora looking out on his feet at times.

Chisora forced the action right up to the closing bell, but he was visibly exhausted, and the cleaner work was coming from Usyk. He may have looked uncomfortable at times, but Usyk never looked overwhelmed by Chisora's power.

Chisora's inability to physically dominate Usyk should come as no surprise though. Before turning pro, Usyk fought Joe Joyce in the World Series of Boxing. Joyce stands at 6 ft 5 1⁄2 and weighed in at over 19 stone for his last fight against Michael Wallisch. Joyce gave a good account of himself over the five rounder, but Usyk took the decision comfortably. He knows how to hold his own with bigger men.

The win last night keeps Usyk's unbeaten record in-tact, and more importantly, it sees him retain his position as mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's WBO World title, which he defends against Kubrat Pulev in December. Usyk has made it clear that should Joshua retain his belts, he fully intends to exorcise his right to challenge. But that isn't the fight the world wants right now. WBC and The Ring Champion, Tyson Fury, is also set to defend his titles in December against a yet unnamed opponent. If he too comes through unscathed, there will be little public interest in anything other than an undisputed unification clash between the two giants.

Should that situation occur, there is a chance that Usyk will accept a pay-off to step aside and let the unification go ahead with a guarantee that he gets a shot at the winner, and it could be in his best interest to do so. By letting AJ and Fury battle it out for undisputed, Usyk need only beat one man for all the marbles.

Regardless of how the AJ-Fury situation plays out - whether Usyk fights one, or both - something we can be sure of is that either man will present him with a challenge like nothing he has faced so far. If we can take anything away from tonight's performance, it's that while Oleksandr Usyk is by no means out of his depth at heavyweight, his power isn't what it was at cruiserweight, and after seeing him tested by Chisora, we have to wonder how he'd fare against men who are bigger, faster and hit a great deal harder than Del Boy.

Elsewhere on the card -

Lee Selby (28-3) vs George Kambosos Jr (19-0)

12 rounds at lightweight
Winner - Kambosos  (118-110 Kambosos, 115-114 Selby, 116-112 Kambosos)

Undefeated George Kambosos Jr gets the better of Lee Selby in a final eliminator for Teófimo López' IBF World title. Kambosos was supremely confident in the build-up, and he looked bang up for it as he made his way to ring. After a close first half, perhaps edged by Selby as Kambosos warmed into it, the second half saw the Australian find his range and up the pressure, seemingly having figured out Selby's movement. By the end, Selby looked like a boxer whose best years were behind him. The judges scored it 118-110 Kambosos, 115-114 Selby and 116-112 Kambosos.

Savannah Marshall (9-0) vs Hannah Rankin (9-5)

10 rounds for the vacant WBO middleweight World title
Winner - Marshall (TKO 7)

Savannah Marshall stops Hannah Rankin to win the WBO World middleweight title. Marshall dominated every round, showing movement and punch variety that just proved too much for Rankin. The end came in the 7th when, after a sustained attack from Marshall, Rankin was forced to take a knee. Battered and bruised, Rankin managed to beat the count, but not convinced she was fit to continue, the referee waved it off.

Tommy McCarthy (17-2)  vs Bilal Laggoune (25-2-2)

12 rounds for the vacant European cruiserweight title
Winner -  Tommy McCarthy (114-114, 116-112, 116-113)

Tommy McCarthy edges out Bilal Laggoune to claim the European cruiserweight title in a hard-fought 12 rounder. Laggoune was as tough as they come, making a real war of it, but after a slow start, McCarthy began to outwork Laggoune, showing the better boxing ability to grind out the win.

Ramla Ali (1-0) vs Eva Hubmeyer (1-1)

6 rounds at super-bantamweight
Winner - Ramla Ali (60-54)

Ramla Ali looked razor-sharp in her pro-debut, taking Eva Hubmeyer apart with a ramrod jab and solid straight right hands. To Hubmeyer's credit, she never stopped coming forward and showed a lot of heart to see the final bell, but the gulf in ability was vast.

Amy Timlin (4-0-1)  vs Carly Skelly (3-0-1)

10 rounds for the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title
Draw - (96-95 Timlin, 97-96 Skelly, 95-95)

Kicking off the night, Amy Timlin and Carly Skelly went head to head for the vacant Commonwealth title. A fascinating clash of styles in an evenly matched fight saw Skelly apply relentless pressure while Timlin boxed well and tried to keep her composure on the backfoot. In the end, the judges couldn't split them, scoring it 96-95 Timlin, 97-96 Skelly and 95-95.

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All 4 majaor belts. All weight classes


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