The Pugilist

Chisora’s true colours set to be revealed

The Pugilist

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Dereck Chisora can either bounce back or sink without trace on July 14

Turn the clock back 12 months: Dereck Chisora was as much of a polarising British heavyweight as he is today, but the extent of the chaos that was to follow was far beyond anybody's wildest imagination.

He has since slapped Vitali Klitschko at a pre-fight weigh-in, spat water in the face of his brother Wladimir and sparked a violent scene with a gate-crashing David Haye which offered boxing detractors carte blanche in their favourite hobby.

To boot, Chisora has lost his British boxing licence, his undefeated record and possibly any hopes of fighting for a world title again, despite putting in a rugged effort against Vitali amidst all the controversy.

In fairness, the two paragraphs above do not tell the entire story.

The Pugilist was cordially invited to visit Chisora's North London gym for a public work-out, allowing for an insight into the life of the nation's current 'bad boy laureate' before drawing a pre-fight judgement.

As timing would have it, the trip would come hours after the WBC confirmed that it was upholding Chisora's indefinite boxing ban, further clouding his future post-Boleyn.

It had done little to break Dereck's focus, however, as he shared a joke or three at the expense of Jimmy Carr's tax dramas with the Eurosport photographer before getting down to business with his umpteenth photo shoot of the day.

"To be honest, I don't really care what the WBC think," Chisora flippantly said following the snap session.

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Chisora trains in North London

"I am only concentrating on this fight, and I'll let other people deal with the WBC situation for me. My lawyers will sort that out."

Looking back with Chisora over his tidal wave of a 52-week period, the boxer had no regrets about the choices he had made, but admitted valuable lessons had been learned.

"My actions at the Vitali fight weren't publicity stunts," he continued.

"These guys had been messing me about for a while, and it led to me doing what I did.

"But I've moved on from it now, and my only focus is David Haye.

"It's a chance for closure," he continued. "It's a great fight on paper and we both want to fight. More importantly, the public want to watch the fight.

"It's going to be one of the biggest fights in British boxing history and could change the landscape of boxing over here, if it hasn't already."

Chisora certainly welcomes the prospect of putting everything behind him and making good on a second chance to crack the world title scene. Just weeks remain until his actions are allowed to speak louder on this subject.

"It's going to be a tough fight but I can't wait for it because it's my chance to move on to bigger and better things and get back to where I was a year ago," he added.

"The plan is to beat Haye and get back into the world title picture once everything else is cleared up."

Haye, of course, hasn't been far from controversy himself since stepping up from cruiserweight to heavyweight.

Faced with accusations that his constant battles to make weight at cruiser were to remain a big fish in a small pond, Haye's attempt to prove doubters wrong have been laced with brash pre-fight talk and frustrating post-fight excuses for lacklustre showings.

But a broken appendage or some other face-saving asterix is the last thing Chisora wants in a fight which he hopes will answer all remaining questions, not add more.

"I hope David will not make any excuses if he loses," he declared. "I think he knows not to make excuses after our fight.

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The Pugilist delves into one of the most curious minds in British boxing today

"There are heavyweights who want to fight and that's us. We want to fight the Klitschkos again.

"I know one of them is retiring soon, and we will go through each other to make that happen.

"Whoever wins at Upton Park is in the best position to fight Vitali, so it's going to be a great contest."

Though far from clean-cut, 'Del Boy' had carved a solid route towards initial world title consideration in his first 14 fights, culminating with a second stoppage of Sam Sexton at Frank Warren's 'Magnificent Seven' festival of up-and-coming domestic talent.

After that, Camp Warren felt he was ready. A meeting with a Klitschko was in the works.

A shot at Wladimir was twice postponed due to 'Dr. Steelhammer' picking up an abdominal injury, but a July 2011 rescheduling was all systems go until Haye was able to get in ahead of his fellow Londoner.

In effect, things went downhill from there: Chisora instead fought Tyson Fury that month, in what would be the only time to date the Finchley resident has truly been outclassed.

(Of course, it may just be a coincidence that Chisora informed The Puglist that he has no interest in a Fury rematch in the near future purely because "there's no money in that fight"…)

A ridiculous judges' decision (sound familiar?) against Finn Robert Helenius for the vacant EBU and WBA-WBO intercontinental straps continued the fall from prominence, and when the Vitali loss was immediately followed by Haye's attempts to shoehorn past Dereck to a second Ukrainian kingpin — combined with the Bermondsey boxer's losing streak taunts — rock bottom was attained.

It has been said that how a man reacts to adversity is their true measurement. And when these two finally meet in an actual boxing ring on July 14, the performance of Chisora will tell the world whether he is a true contender who has endured a year to forget, or a thuggish heavyweight who buckled under the pressure, took the massive pay-day and ran.

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What will 'Del Boy' see when he gazes into the mirror after July 14?

Haye v Chisora: Licensed to Thrill takes place at Upton Park, home of West Ham United football club, in East London on July 14.

The card in full will be available to watch on BoxNation, which is available at a monthly subscription of £10.

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