Usyk dominant in heavyweight debut, wins by TKO

By Patrick Rose, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Oleksandr Usyk did everything in his heavyweight debut with the exception of knocking down Chazz Witherspoon.

Usyk dominated, earning a technical knockout win over Witherspoon in the seventh round on Saturday night.

In his highly anticipated pro debut, Usyk (17-0) showed his dominance over Witherspoon in the third round, teeing off with an array of jabs. Usyk landed a series of combinations in the fourth.

Witherspoon spent most of the second half of the sixth round leaning on the ropes as Usyk had his way.

Witherspoon (38-4) showed a strong chin, never going down, but his corner saw enough and stopped the fight after the seventh round.

Usyk had no regrets about not putting Witherspoon on the canvas.

“I did what my trainer told me to do. I just follow their orders and that was to box. And I did box, but if I had the opportunity, I would take that opportunity,” Usyk said.

After dominating the cruiserweight division, Usyk expects to jump into title fight contention.

Usyk is the WBO’s mandatory challenger for the winner of the Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch on December 7.

“I am ready; I am ready to fight whoever,” Usyk said. “If they give me the mandatory, then of course I am ready to take it.”

The 2012 heavyweight gold medalist took the Wintrust Arena by storm. Usyk may have been fighting in the United States, but he had the majority of the crowd behind him while the Ukranian flag was prominent throughout the arena and the crowd loudly chanted his name.

The 32-year old Ukranian was originally supposed to make his heavyweight debut on May 25 against Carlos Takam, but a torn right biceps injury for Usyk derailed the scheduled bout.

Witherspoon was simply outclassed by Usyk, who came in at a heavy 242 pounds after accepting the fight this week. He replaced Tyrone Spong, who failed a drug test.