The long-overdue fight between WBO number one heavyweight contender Oleksandr Usyk 17-0 (13) and veteran Dereck Chisora 32-9 (23) is close to being finalised.
The fight was originally scheduled to take place at London’s O2 Arena on May 23 before the global coronavirus pandemic hit.
Without a live gate the fight looked dead in the water, but promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing said both boxers were keen to move ahead with the fight and he was working on a revised agreement that would see the fight take place.
“We’re close,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“I mean both guys understand that without a gate at The O2, there’s significantly less revenue driven to that show, but both guys fancy that fight.
“We’re trying to get the maths right. We’re trying to get the numbers right to get these guys over the line.
“I have to say, fair play to both of them, they are trying to find a way.
“Usyk is saying to me, Chisora is saying to me, David Haye phones me all the time: ‘Let’s find a way to make this fight, it’s great for boxing’.
“But we are handcuffed and bound by the fact that no fans are allowed at the moment.
“But if I’m a betting man, I’m having a little cheeky each way punt that Usyk-Chisora gets over the line.”
Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 33, moved up to heavyweight last year to stop late replacement Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago last October.
As the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, the WBO installed him as the number one contender to unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s throne.
Joshua 23-1 (21) is due to make a mandatory title defence against IBF number one Kubrat Pulev 28-1 (14) before likely facing WBC champion Tyson Fury in a two-fight series next year.
Fury 30-0-1 (21) will need to get past Deontay Wilder 42-1-1 (41) in their third fight for that to happen.
Usyk has previously said he isn’t interested in stepping aside to allow the Joshua-Fury fight to happen, further complicating the heavyweight landscape.
“For sure, yes he’s not stepping aside,” said Hearn. “He wants the fight – the winner of Joshua against Pulev for the WBO world title.”
But Hearn warned Usyk could be upset by Chisora the same way Dillian Whyte was on the wrong end of a knockout at the hands of Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin last month.
“Maybe Mr Chisora puts a spanner in the works like Alexander Povetkin did. Anything could happen,” he said.
“Usyk believes he could go out, get a good win under his belt in the heavyweight division and then move on to challenge for a world title in 2021.”
Londoner Chisora, 36, was last in action in October when he knocked out David Price in four rounds at the O2 Arena.
He is 5-1 in his past six fights with his lone loss coming by 11th round stoppage to Whyte in a close and competitive fight.
Usyk became a household name when he won the inaugural World Boxing Super Series to unify all four major world title belts in July 2018.
He has fought just twice since.