London, March 12: Former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk will look to take his next step towards heavyweight honours when he faces Dereck Chisora in London on May 23.
Usyk concluded his dominance of the 200lbs division with an eighth-round stoppage of Tony Bellew in November 2018, although he has only fought once since due to bicep and elbow injuries.
The undefeated 33-year-old stopped unheralded American Chazz Witherspoon on his heavyweight debut last October and now faces a mouth-watering clash against former world-title challenger Chisora at the O2 Arena.
"As a cruiserweight, I reached the highest heights as undisputed champion and now I am following the same path as a heavyweight," said Usyk, who is currently ranked as the WBO's mandatory challenger - meaning a shot at unified champion Anthony Joshua could be on the agenda for the winner of this bout later in 2020.
"I expect a real test in Chisora - he is strong, tough and resilient. I recall being an amateur and watching his fight with Vitali Klitschko. It seemed so big and far away.
"Now I am myself taking a fight against Chisora. I am working hard in my training camp to show a spectacular performance on May 23."
Chisora is coming off a run of three consecutive victories following his dramatic 11th-round loss to domestic rival Dillian Whyte in December 2018 and the 36-year-old has pledged to provide a stern test of Usyk's heavyweight credentials.
"Usyk reckons he can step up and survive with the big boys. He may be the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world but on May 23 he will find out what it feels like to be hit by a real heavyweight," he said.
"He is coming to my backyard, I'm going to remind him exactly why he hid in the cruiserweight division and also get revenge for my boy, Tony Bellew. This will be war."