Former world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will face Chazz Witherspoon in his heavyweight debut at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday night, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK. Witherspoon replaces Tyrone Spong after there were adverse findings in two of Spong’s urine samples. As a result, the Illinois State Athletic Commission will not license Tyrone to box and rescinded their approval of the bout with Usyk. [The semi-active Witherspoon has fought only twice in the past three years].
Witherspoon (38-3 with 29 KOs) is the second cousin of former two-time heavyweight titlist Tim Witherspoon. He is unbeaten in five years with his last win coming in March in Atlantic City over Santiago Silgado and now the 38 year-old gets a huge opportunity to pull off a massive upset as Ukrainian pound-for-pound king Usyk moves up to heavyweight after leaving the cruiserweight division as the undisputed ruler.
“I can’t wait to face Usyk in Chicago,” said Witherspoon. “I have been in training ready for a big fight, and it doesn’t get bigger than this. Oleksandr is stepping up to heavyweight – and he’s going to find out that it’s a totally different game. I’ve won my last eight fights and I really feel that I’ve been waiting in the wings for a huge opportunity like this and I am going to put every ounce of myself into the fight on this massive stage.”
Usyk’s heavyweight bow against Witherspoon is part of a huge night of World championship action in Chicago as Dmitry Bivol defends his WBA light heavyweight title against Lenin Castillo and Jessica McCaskill defends her WBA and WBC 140-pound titles against old foe Erica Farias.
Also on the undercard: unbeaten super middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr. returns to action against Morgan Fitch, Charles Conwell is in a quality junior middleweight fight against Patrick Day, an all-Chicago super featherweight clash between Josh Hernandez and Giovanni Mioletti, former IBF 130-pound champion TJ Doheny returns to the ring, Reshat Mati is back after recovering from a shoulder injury and a fourth pro outing for rising starlet Otha Jones III.