The coronavirus outbreak could very well end up postponing the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Derek Chisora fight scheduled for May 23 at The O2 Arena in London.
Whether that happens or not, Anthony Joshua has reason to believe that Chisora will seriously test Usyk in the ring when they meet and that feeling stems from the unified world heavyweight champion having watched Chisora's past fights and his own experience sparring with "War."
"The Chisora from the two fights against Dillian (Whyte) will give Usyk problems," Joshua told Sky Sports, referring to Whyte needing hard-fought performances to record an 11th-round KO of Chisora in December 2018 and a 12th-round split decision over Chisora in December 2016.
AJ's two cents on Usyk-Chisora also derives from catching Chisora's fourth-round TKO of David Price in October and then sparring with his fellow British fighter the following month.
"I watched the Chisora versus Price fight — I thought 'Why isn't Price controlling Chisora?' Joshua continued to share. "Then I sparred Chisora. The guy is strong, you know. He is no joke. And I give Dillian credit for dealing with him twice. To control Chisora over 12 or 11 rounds takes some doing."
Joshua tabbed Chisora for sparring sessions leading up to his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. in December, when he defeated the Mexican fighter via a lopsided unanimous decision to regain his unified world heavyweight titles.
Those sparring sessions ended in mutual respect between Joshua and Chisora.
The 36-year-old Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) had a busy 2019, as he built a three-fight winning streak capped by his victory over Price. Meanwhile, after becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion in 2018, Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) got his feet wet in the heavyweight division last year by making Chazz Witherspoon retire in his corner after the seventh round of their October fight.
Last week, Matchroom Boxing USA president Eddie Hearn spoke with Sky Sports about contingency plans in case the COVID-19 global pandemic further delays the company's upcoming slate of fights. Hearn said the Usyk-Chisora fight could be pushed back "to the end of June."