Usyk says there will be no war, just pure boxing
Below are a selection of quotes from Thursday's (October 29) Oleksandr Usyk vs. Derek Chisora, plus undercard, press conference ahead of Saturday's unmissable action at The SSE Arena, Wembley, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S.
Here's what they had to say:
Eddie Hearn: "Welcome to a huge night of boxing. I'm very proud to be able to get this huge event over the line. Of course, we're in difficult times right now. This was an event that was supposed to happen in May in front of 17,000 people at The O2 Arena, but we have built something very special here across the road at Wembley Arena where we will remain for the next six weeks for four huge nights starting with Usyk vs. Chisora this Saturday night live and exclusive on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN across America.
It is one of the biggest pound for pound stars in the sport in Oleksander Usyk, already the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's World Title with the WBO, against Derek Chisora who has had a great second wind in the sport of boxing. He's on a great run with big wins over Takam and David Price."
Oleksandr Usyk - Kiev, Ukraine - 17-0, 13 KO's - fighting Derek Chisora in a Heavyweight clash:
"There will be no war. I bring peace - pure, clean boxing. He will definitely want to hurt me badly but I won't stand in front of him. I don't know why everyone is talking about a test at Heavyweight because, all of my life, I have been tested by Heavyweights. In the World Series of Boxing I was a Heavyweight - people wanted to hurt me but didn't manage to. If the king of animals would be considered according to the size, then it would be elephant, not the lion. An elephant is a friend of the mouse!"
Alexander Krassyuk, K2 Promotions:
"First of all, I am really glad to be stuck here in the bubble. Eddie, thank you very much for keeping us fed, safe and COVID free. There's only a couple of days left. I hope nothing will disturb us from entering the ring on Saturday night. Within the last 8 months there was a lot of talk that this fight is going to be a real test for Usyk, which I do agree with. He is entering the Heavyweight division. I consider this fight to be his real test. This division is called elite because gentlemen like Usyk and Chisora represent it. On Saturday night two true warriors are going to war."
Derek Chisora - Finchley, London - 32-9, 23 KO's - fighting Oleksandr Usyk in a Heavyweight clash:
"People tell me that I hold the key to the rich and famous! You shall not pass! He will try to box. I can't box. It will be a shoot-out. When I hit him, he'll be hit, there is nowhere to hide. I need a fair referee. I want this fight to be fair. I don't want to be dancing or wrestling. I want both of us to work fairly. I have to keep marching forwards. He will try to wrong-foot me but I'm ready. People will be surprised."
David Haye, Hayemaker Promotions:
"Derek has taken his training to a new stratosphere in terms of pain and sacrifice. It took someone as good as Usyk to do what he's always needed to do. Usyk will find himself in a very, very uncomfortable fight, fighting somebody significantly stronger than anybody he has fought before.
"It will get very rough, very fast. Will Usyk drown in the Heavyweight waters? Chisora can absorb a disgusting amount of punishment. How deep can Usyk soul-search? How much does he want it? Things come easier to Usyk. He is now fighting someone 20kg of solid muscle heavier. I see Chisora causing one of the biggest upsets on British soil ever.
"Usyk believes it will be a boxing match. Peace? I was hoping that would be the case. He hasn't practiced having a war. He has practiced silky skills to keep the big man off. What if the big man forces his way in? Usyk won't be allowed to box. He will be forced to fight. He will find himself in deep waters and there is a strong current.
"The moment Derek is forced to have a long-range boxing match with the best boxer in the world, he loses. Fact. We're under no illusions. When Derek gets inside the referee needs to let the action flow. Let them work, let them punch. When they are on the inside and are punching, it doesn't matter that their heads are close or that they might be holding an arm. Just let the action flow.
"The British Boxing Board of Control have great judges and referees and I'm positive that, for a fight of this magnitude, the referees and judges are on point. Derek doesn't want favours. He just wants it fair. Derek wants to be allowed to implement a game-plan that will give him success."
Lee Selby – Barry, Wales – 28-2, 9 KOs – fighting George Kambosos Jr in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Lightweight World Title:
"I'm not fearful of any fighter. I don't believe any boxer is. We're fighting men. We don't fear our opponents. It's a lot more comfortable for me boxing at Lightweight, but it's still no plain sailing. It's still quite a struggle to get down to the weight and I still have to train very hard. How I made Featherweight I do not know! I expect him to come out with pressure and high work-rate which will make for a great spectacle."
George Kambosos Jr - Sydney, Australia - 18-0, 10 KO's - fighting Lee Selby in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Lightweight World Title:
"I'm super excited. I'm a caged lion right now. I can't wait for this fight. This is my time. I'm in my prime, and I'm ready to make a huge statement. It doesn't matter who is in front of me. I'm ready to make a huge statement. I can't wait to get in on.
"Not only my youth, but every aspect of my fight game. It is going to be too much for him. I truly believe that. Come Saturday I am going to showcase it all. This is my time. He's had his time. He's been a World Champion. He's a former. I'm coming to become a World Champion. This is my time. I'm ready.
"It is a great division, and who wouldn't want to be part of this division right now? It is the best division in the world I believe. I know what we're about. My team know what we're about. I've got one man in front of me and that's Lee Selby. I'll take this guy out and then I'll go for the World Title straight after. His sell-by date has expired!"
Savannah Marshall – Hartlepool, England – 8-0, 6 KOs – fighting Hannah Rankin for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title:
"I wanted this fight to happen and it is. What else is there left to say about it? The fight is on. I've trained for months for this. It has been a long camp. I just can't wait to get in there.
"I've rattled Hannah's cage. I expect a tough fight from her. A really tough fight. She's got loads of heart and she's not goI boxed at Light-Heavy and Super-Middle - I feel sharper at this weight.
"Whatever she brings, I have an answer for. Hannah can't out-box me so she has to take me out of my stride. But I'm bigger and stronger. If the stoppage comes, the stoppage comes."
Hannah Rankin – Glasgow, Scotland – 9-4, 2 KOs – fighting Savannah Marshall for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title:
"I was absolutely gutted, as I'm sure Savannah also was, last time were in the bubble. Just to be on a huge card like this is massive. It's a really exciting card to be on. I think our fight is worthy of being on this card. I can't wait for it.
"I'm just pumped up for this fight and really ready to go. I'm excited to get in there on Saturday night and showcase what I can do by winning that Word Title.
"I've had much more experience and Savannah hasn't had these tests yet. I'll pull her into deep waters. We'll go into the last rounds - she will sink or swim. The Claressa Shields vs. Savannah fight won't happen after I take the World Title home on Saturday."
Tommy McCarthy – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 16-2, 8 KOs – fighting Bilal Laggoune for the vacant EBU European Cruiserweight Title:
"I never lost the faith. I always believed that I had the ability. There have been dark times but I never gave up on myself. This doesn't feel like a shock to me. I always knew I was going to be here. It feels right. Everything feels like it is happening at the right time and I'm loving it.
"The Fabio Turchi win did wonders for my confidence. I get confidence from the team that I have around me. I have the best trainer in the world in Peter Taylor. We've been working so hard in the gym. Everything that was below par has been fixed.
"Laggoune has weaknesses. He's looking to go to war? I'm hoping for a first-round knockout. I've had to rebuild twice. I don't fancy doing it again. It's not going to be an easy fight but I know that I have what it takes to win."
Bilal Laggoune – Aalst, Belgium – 25-1, 2 KOs – fighting Tommy McCarthy for the vacant EBU European Cruiserweight Title:
"I am very thankful to Matchroom for the opportunity to fight on this bill. Matchroom is the biggest promotion that there is at the moment. This is my time to shine. I have always wanted to show how good I am and I think this is the moment. This is the time. I'm so excited. We've done everything we can and I'm happy to be here.
"I don't think this is going to be easy. I have studied him from A to Z. He is good and he has heart, but I think he has a lot of defaults in his boxing. I am going to war. You will see a war."
Ramla Ali – Bethnal Green, England – making her professional debut in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest against Eva Hubmeyer:
"I think it was like Monday night and I thought I wasn't going to compete. I was 'this' close to saying, 'screw it, I'm going to order a pizza'. I stayed professional and I was still really hopeful, and then on Tuesday I was told I'm fighting. I'm really glad that I stayed professional and I'm really glad that I stuck with it.
"It's so amazing to have at least one female bout on every undercard. On Saturday there's three! It's not a novelty, women's boxing is serious! Women's boxing is booming and I'm just blessed to be a part of it and fighting on Saturday.
"My story got me through the door. People say 'does she deserve it?' The next step is for me to prove that I'm more than just a story. I plan on doing so with a nice win on Saturday."
Eva Hubmeyer – Euskirchen, Germany – 1-0, 1 KO – fighting Ramla Ali in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest:
"I'm really happy to be here and I'm so excited. I'm so proud to be part of this. This is the first fight that I've had abroad. I have only fought in Germany up until this point, so I'm really excited. It is a great honour to be here. It is very good that more women are coming through in boxing. There are three women's fights on the huge card, hopefully women's boxing keeps on growing."
Kash Farooq – Glasgow, Scotland – 13-1, 6 KOs – fighting Martin Tecuapetla in a ten round Bantamweight contest:
"I'm ready. I've been training for a fight for the last seven or eight months. I'm in the gym, and I was keeping up my running and circuits. My time is here and I'm ready to showcase my skills. My trainer always tells me boxing is a short career and before you know it, it's over. I'm dedicating my life to boxing because you never know how much longer you've got left in the sport. I'm going to put everything into the next few years and make what I can of it. I'm mentally and physically prepared. I've imagined going through every scenario."
Martin Tecuapetla – Mexico City, Mexico – 15-12-4, 10 KOs – fighting Kash Farooq in a ten round Bantamweight contest:
"Thank you for this opportunity. It is a great pleasure for me to attend this show. It will be a great fight. Kash is a great fighter. I'm ready for this. Thank you to Matchroom for giving me this opportunity to be here. It's a great show featuring some huge boxers."
Amy Timlin – Southam, England – 4-0 – fighting Carly Skelly for the vacant Commonwealth Super- Bantamweight Title:
"I've been waiting a long time for this fight. I've been in a training camp for about five months now. To get this opportunity is amazing and I couldn't have asked to be on a better platform. I know it's going to be a cracking fight to watch on Saturday night.
"I like to think my style is exciting, I love a good tear up. It's going to be exciting. I know that Carly is also an aggressive fighter so fans can expect a toe-to-toe war. Women's boxing, especially in our division, is growing massively. Shannon Courtenay has a similar come forward style to mine so that would be a cracking fight."
Carly Skelly – Liverpool, England – 3-0 – fighting Amy Timlin for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight:
"I'm the same, come forward, and I love to fight! It's going to be a good fight on Saturday. It's a great opportunity, like Amy said, we've both been waiting for this fight for a long time. It has been on the card for a few months now. Nobody really knows me, but after Saturday that will change. I've had a lot of support from the likes of Derry Matthews and Darren Till."