Oleksandr Usyk's technical game was too good for a game Dereck Chisora as he won his second professional bout at heavyweight via unanimous decision at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), who unified the cruiserweight division before stepping up to heavy, beat Chazz Witherspoon last year in what turned out to be a non-event but had a much better introduction to the maximum weight class versus the tenured Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs), who made life uncomfortable for the Ukrainian early on with an all-out attacking approach.
It wasn't long before Usyk's guile and counterpunching took over, and Chisora had to tone down his approach in order to last the full 12, even adopting a switch-hitting strategy to find the occasional way back in.
All three judges preferred Usyk's approach and superior lands, scoring it 117-112, 115-113 and 115-113 in favor of the undefeated fighter.
“This was a real test at heavyweight," said Usyk after the fight. "Chisora is a big guy, a hard guy. Boxing is beautiful, I love boxing.
“I fought Chisora’s fight. I was expecting a fight like that, maybe even a tougher fight. I’d give myself three out of 10 [for his performance vs. Chisora].
“I will go home to spend maximum time with my family, then to the gym to train for a world heavyweight championship fight. I won’t just become a world champion, I’ll become the undisputed world heavyweight champion.”
A despondent Chisora said: “I feel great, just disappointed. I thought I won, 100%. I was pushing the pace. I gave a couple of rounds away, but I was pushing him. The judges didn’t see it that way.
“My body shots were good. He was complaining but the referee didn’t see it that way. I’m gutted.”
In chief support, George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs) made good on his promise to defeat Lee Selby (28-3, 9 KOs) on British soil with an impressive performance to win their final eliminator for the IBF lightweight title currently held by Teofimo Lopez Jr.
After four close rounds, the former world featherweight champion looked as though he was finding his pattern with the undefeated Australian, who cut a frustrated figure on his way back to his corner.
However, Kambosos Jr. tweaked the game plan from round six and did not look back. Though it appeared ‘Ferocious’ did not drop a single round of the back seven, the judges ruled the fight a split decision with cards of 118-110, 116-112 and 114-115.
“That’s two former world champions I’ve beaten in their own back yard,” said Kambosos Jr. after the big win. “I told everyone I was too fast, too strong, too powerful, too good.
“I want Lopez Jr., I want the fight. Let’s do it next, world title shot. I’m the mandatory challenger. I’ll train tonight, I promise you, because I want that world title.”
On the undercard, Savannah Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs) finally became a world champion at the professional level after overwhelming Hannah Rankin (9-5, 2 KOs) on her way to a seventh-round stoppage for the WBO middleweight title.
After a quiet opening round, the former Team GB Olympian proceeded to take charge and dominate her Scottish adversary until a stiff body shot scored a knockdown during which the official waved off the contest mid-count.
Marshall reiterated her desire to face undefeated American Claressa Shields after the win, telling Sky Sports: “Claressa won her titles before me because she got her chances before me, not because she’s better than me.”
To date, Marshall is the only fighter to have defeated Shields at any level of boxing, in the second round of the 2012 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao.
Tommy McCarthy (17-2, 8 KOs) started slow in his bout with Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune (25-2-2, 14 KOs) for the vacant European cruiserweight strap before doing enough to take two of the three judges’ scorecards (114-114, 116-112, 116-113) for a title-securing majority decision.
The Northern Irishman was overjoyed with what he called his biggest career win to date, and with the European belt being a stepping stone to world title contention, McCarthy called out the world’s current top cruiserweight, 2020 Muhammad Ali Trophy winner Mairis Briedis.
Ramla Ali’s professional debut went to plan as she proved too much for the fellow rookie, Germany’s Eva Hubmeyer (1-1, 1 KO), ultimately scoring a six-round shut-out on the referee’s scorecard.
And the card got off to an enjoyable start when unbeaten super-bantamweights Carly Skelly (3-0-1) and Amy Timlin (4-0-1) fought a close contest which, ultimately, the judges for the vacant Commonwealth title decider ruled as a split draw.