OLEKSANDR USYK AND CHAZZ WITHERSPOON FACE OFF FOR THE FIRST TIME AHEAD OF SATURDAY’S HEAVYWEIGHT CLASH
Fight Season on DAZN continues this Saturday night at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, the site of the very first U.S. fight on DAZN one year ago. All of the fighters gathered in downtown Chicago this afternoon to speak with the media ahead of Saturday’s stacked event.
In celebration of the one-year anniversary, DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA return with an action-packed card featuring the heavyweight debut of undefeated Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 11 KOs) against seasoned veteran Chazz Witherspoon (38-3, 29 KOs), who replaces Tyrone Spong following a positive drug test earlier this week. In the co-main event of the evening, Russia’s Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) will defend his WBA World Light Heavyweight Title against Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. Kicking off the main broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on DAZN, WBC and WBA World Female Super Light titlist Jessica McCaskill (7-2, 3 KOs) of Chicago will meet Erica Farias (26-3, 10 KOs) of Argentina in a rematch of their hotly-contested fight which highlighted the first DAZN event in Chicago.
The three-fight preliminary card starts on DAZN at 7 p.m. ET and features three undefeated rising prospects in separate bouts. Charles Conwell (10-0, 7 KOs), Anthony Sims, Jr. (19-0, 17 KOs) and Arthur Biyarslanov (4-0, 4 KOs) will showcase their elite abilities in front of the packed crowd on the Chicago’s South Side.
Below are quotes from today’s final press conference.
“First and foremost, before we begin today, our thoughts are with Errol Spence this morning.
“This crazy adventure started a year ago right here in Chicago. Some laughed and some questioned us when we proclaimed we would assemble the best fight schedule in boxing. One year later, we have the best schedule in boxing. It all started right here.
“We are expecting about nine thousand fans on Saturday night. This is a great fight city and has a big future for huge fights in the U.S. We are thrilled to be back with an excellent card. The heavyweight debut of Oleksandr Usyk, the return of Dmitry Bivol, a rematch of one of the best fights on DAZN this year between Jessica McCaskill and Erica Farias.
“When you get a call like I did on Monday that Tyrone Spong had failed a drug test, you need to move quickly or there is a chance that there is no show at all. We want to say a special thank you to Chazz Witherspoon. He has been undefeated for nearly six years now and we have talked to him about a bunch of different fights of the years. He stepped up here to take a shot at Oleksandr Usyk and we are grateful.”
“I want to thank my team for acting fast with the circumstances that took place earlier this week. My team is the best team, thank you to everyone who is here with me, especially my amazing wife and trainer. I invite you to Wintrust Arena on Saturday night to witness a show.”
“Thank you so much to my team. So many people on the internet are talking badly about me, asking me why I got this shot. But it’s all about my team. I am not with a big time promoter and there’s no red tape in my career. I trust everyone around me. I am now at a point where I need to take this shot. There’s a huge opportunity for me here. It came knocking and I opened the door to see who it was, and here I am. Usyk is a great guy, I have the utmost respect for him. I am not one to get up here and talk crazy. That’s not me. I am a guy that is going to show up and rumble. I’m never scared, my heart don’t pump Kool Aid. I am the bigger guy and I am going to come in there and mix it up. I am looking for lightning to strike here, but I am coming to rumble.”
Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA