David Haye believes that Dereck Chisora’s chances of beating Oleksandr Usyk have significantly risen due to the delay.

The fight, originally scheduled for May, will go ahead on October 31 behind closed doors somewhere in the UK. And Haye, Chisora’s manager and a former opponent, says the Londoner has been working hard improving his ability against southpaws all summer.

“I believe his chances of winning on October 31 are significantly higher than earlier in the year, because he has spent every day, effectively, focusing on a tricky southpaw” Haye told Sky Sports News.

“In his fight with [Senad] Gashi (in April 2019), he wasn’t quite there. You saw the improvement against Artur Szpilka, who was much more effective with his counter-punching but that was unable to affect Dereck. He put the pressure on him, Dereck let his hands go and really did a number on him. That is the type of Dereck we need.

“Since that fight he has drummed himself with southpaws, tricky guys, so come fight night, he is able to put 12 rounds of action together.”

Haye admits that Usyk, the former undisputed world cruiserweight champion, is a worthy favourite on paper, but says funny things happen in the heavyweight division, pointing to Alexander Povetkin’s knockout win over Dillian Whyte last month.

“If you look at his record, what he has done as an amateur, world champion, Olympic gold medallist, undisputed, never lost, he has won every single belt there is to win,” Haye said of the Ukrainian. “He has done it all and Dereck has lost nine fights. If you look at his record against Dereck’s, you only think there is going to be one winner.

“But what Usyk doesn’t understand is that the heavyweight division is very different to every other division in boxing. It’s about size, it’s about weight and, ask Povetkin, it takes one shot to turn the tide. Anything can happen in the heavyweight division. The gaps he used are getting filled in. He is going to cause an upset and he is going to shock so many people, because he has dedicated his life to it.

“He knows this is his last chance. He is 36, against the No 1 WBO mandatory challenger. He has to take that from him and he is then in the top five in the world and we are talking about huge mega fights against the big names.”

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.