Oleksandr Usyk apparently has a replacement opponent for his Saturday night heavyweight debut in Chicago and though you might recognize the last name, there is definitely a credibility problem.
Boxing Scene.com senior writer, Keith Idec, was the first to report that Chazz Witherspoon, a former Philly unbeaten heavyweight contender from over a decade ago, will fight the former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Usyk:
Been told Chazz Witherspoon has replaced Tyrone Spong as Oleksandr Usyk's opponent Saturday night in Chicago. The 38-year-old Witherspoon's contract is in the process of being finalized. An announcement should come later today. My story will be up on https://t.co/jReoWld2yB soon.
— Keith Idec (@Idecboxing) October 8, 2019
Witherspoon, who is 38 years old, has only fought twice in the last three years. One of those was a March TKO win over Santander Silgado. The real question is: seven months later, what kind of shape is he in?
Obviously, Matchroom Boxing and promoter Eddie Hearn must have some idea that he’s able to pass a physical and he’s willing to sign a contract to face the former Ukrainian Gold Medal winner from the 2012 Olympics.
Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) was to have faced former professional kick-boxer and unbeaten (14-0) heavyweight Tyrone Sprong Saturday night at the Wintrust Arena in suburban Chicago. That is until Sprong got popped by the Voluntary Anti-doping Association or (VADA) pre-fight test, for an undisclosed drug violation.
With Spong now suddenly unavailable, Hearn had only five days to find someone to step through the ropes. And, that turns out to be the second cousin of former heavyweight champion “Terrible Tim” Witherspoon, who held a portion of the heavyweight crown in the 1980’s but lost to both Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.
Chazz Witherspoon ascended to 23 – 0 before being stopped in the third round by Chris Arreola in June of 2008.
However, that was 11 years ago.
He won his next three fights over the course of ’08 – 09 before Tony “the Tiger” Thompson beat him by TKO in 9 rounds in May of 2009. Witherspoon fought on and off for the next couple of years before losing to Seth Mitchell in April of 2012.
Witherspoon has won 8 fights since, against non-descript competition.
Needless to say, this opponent will be met with much ridicule and in some circles outrage, as not only is the fight part of the DAZN streaming service monthly package, but it is also being sold as part of Pay-per-View on Sky Sports in Europe.
Usyk was already expected to wipe out Sprong and the same will likely happen in an early 1st or 2nd round knockout with his American fill in Witherspoon.