Fast Results from Chicago: Usyk and Bivol Too Classy for their Respective Foes



By Arne K. Lang

Former four-belt cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and defending WBA world light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol were massive favorites over their respective opponents and their bouts played out as expected with little drama.

Usyk, the 2018 consensus (and TSS) Fighter of the Year won every round against late sub Chazz Witherspoon who ran out of gas and retired on his stool after seven rounds. Witherspoon, 38, weighed-in at a career high 242 and was simply too slow to make headway against Usyk who was 15 pounds lighter. Usyk, whose heavyweight debut was stalled by a biceps injury, was making his first start in 11 months. The Ukrainian southpaw, an Olympic gold medalist, improved to 17-0 (13 KOs).


Dimitry Bivol, making the fifth defense of his WBA light heavyweight title, won a lopsided decision over Lenin Castillo in a drab fight. Castillo, a 2008 Olympian from the Dominican Republic, fought most of the fight on his back foot and was reluctant to let his hands go. Bivol 17-0 (11 KOs) dropped Castillo (20-3-1) with a right hand in the sixth round. The scores were 120-107 and 119-108 twice.

Other Bouts of Note

In a super middleweight contest slated for 10 rounds, Indianapolis’ knockout artist Anthony Sims Jr., a second cousin of Floyd Mayweather Jr, dominated Morgan Fitch en route to a sixth-round stoppage. Sims had Fitch down twice in the opening round and then took his foot off the gas. In the sixth, Fitch took a knee after eating a hard right hand and moments later the fight was waved off. Sims improved to 20-0 with his 18[SUP]th[/SUP] win inside the distance. The 36-year-old Fitch, a South Louisiana native, declined 19-4-1 and lost for the fourth time in his last five starts.

Cleveland super welterweight Charles Conwell (11-0, 8 KOs) stepped up in class and passed the test with flying colors, scoring a frightful 10[SUP]th[/SUP] round knockout of Patrick Day (17-4-1). The 21-year-old Conwell, the youngest member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, scored three knockdowns in all, the last the result of a combination climaxed by a vicious left hook. Day, from Freeport, NY, was on the canvas for several minutes before being stretchered out of the ring and was reportedly still unconscious when he was placed in an ambulance and rushed to Northwestern Hospital where he underwent surgery to reduce swelling on the brain.

Former IBF 122-pound champion TJ Doheny (22-1, 16 KOs) stayed busy with a sixth-round stoppage of 38-year-old Columbian trial horse Jesus Martinez (26-10). Doheny, an Australian who frequently hangs his hat in Boston, was making his first start since coming out on the short end of a unification fight with Danny Roman, a 12-round barnburner contested on Roman’s turf in Los Angeles.

Chicago’s own Jessica McCaskill (the St. Louis native has lived here since 2012), successfully defended her WBC and WBA 140-pound world titles with a majority decision over Argentina’s Erica Anabella Farias. This was a rematch of their bout here 53 weeks ago and was a messier affair than the prequel which McCaskill won by a unanimous decision. Farias had a point deducted in round four for excessive holding and McCaskill was docked a point in round six for hitting behind the head.

The scores were 97-91, 96-92, and 94-94. McCaskill is now 8-2; Farias 26-4. Both women are 35 years old.

The show was held at Wintrust Arena on the campus of DePaul University and played out before an announced crowd of 9,073.

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Usyk-Witherspoon was more or less a glorified sparring session. I know it was only a few days notice but DAZN could have done a lot better in my opinion than Witherspoon. That said, for Usyk not a bad way to get a feel for the heavyweight division.

Bivol is who he is. He is a solid boxer puncher with a cautious approach. Nothing wrong with that style. He dominates.

I am heartbroken about Patrick Day. As with all in the boxing community, am praying he can pull through.