Oleksandr Usyk beat Chazz Witherspoon by an eighth-round TKO in his heavyweight debut at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Saturday, April 12th.
The Ukrainian dominated the fight right from the get-go and forced the American’s corner to stop the fight after a punishing beating in the seventh round.
Witherspoon took the fight on four days’ notice after Usyk’s original opponent Tyrone Spong tested positive for a banned substance and was immediately pulled out.
Usyk had not fought since he unified the cruiserweight titles with a win over Tony Bellew in November 2018. He was due to make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam in May but was forced to pull out with a bicep injury.
Usyk came in 27 pounds lighter than Witherspoon on the weigh-in a day before, and his speed showed as he constantly beat his opponent to the punch throughout the fight. The former cruiserweight champion was close to stopping his opponent in the sixth round after landing a fierce combination, but Witherspoon held on to survive the round.
The seventh round ended quite similar, with Usyk barraging his opponent with countless head shots as Witherspoon looked nearly out on his foot. The 38-year-old American failed to come out for the eighth round, giving Usyk an eighth-round TKO win.
The victory improves the 32-year-old’s professional record to 17-0, and AFP reported that he said he was ready to take on the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Deontay Wilder.
"I am ready to fight them. If they give it to me, of course I am going to take it," he said.