By Daniel Cann
It wasn’t pretty but it was exciting. Wilmslow’s Tyson Fury (a trim looking 255 and a half pounds) defeated domestic rival Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora (a blubbery career heaviest 261 pounds) and in the process took the Finchley fighter’s British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. Fury also extended his unbeaten record to 15 straight wins (10 inside) while Chisora fell to 14 –1 (9 inside). It was great to see boxing back on British terrestrial television and it was especially good to see veteran commentator Al Bernstein at ringside (I will never forget his commentary on the Marvin Hagler fights on ESPN in the 1980s). All in all this did the sport a lot of good and went a long way to restoring its reputation in Britain.
Although not a classic in any sense of the word, both boxers showed a lot of heart and rugged determination in a gruelling twelve rounder. It was scrappy and untidy at times as both men repeatedly fell into clinches, happy to take a breather or to tie the other one up. Fury showed canniness as he leaned all over his almost eight inch shorter rival. This tactic not only nullified Chisora’s inside work it denied him any room to mount any attacks. It was not aesthetically pleasing but tactically it was sound. If you like Fury used a Klitschko tactic of jabbing and holding to win!
The second round presented Chisora with his best opportunity of winning as he exploded hooks onto Fury’s jaw. To Fury’s credit despite being backed up and hurt he was never seriously wobbled. He proved he has a good chin. He also showed a good ring brain as he gave ground momentarily, regrouped then reverted back to the boxing that was winning the fight. Fury is only 23 but at times he exhibited the boxing smarts of a veteran.
The big difference between the two men was that Fury managed to stick to his gameplan, which was to keep the fight at range where he peppered his rival with jabs and whenever Chisora recklessly charged forward swinging, Fury simply smothered him. For the most part Chisora could not slip the jab and get inside, he had rare successes but not enough to seriously threaten or trouble his challenger.
Chisora found he simply could not get past those much longer arms and he seldom breached that high defence. By the eighth round Chisora cut a somewhat forlorn figure as he huffed and puffed and bled freely from the mouth. He was spending long periods backed up against the ropes in the ninth offering nothing but bravado and an ability to soak up more punishment.
The tenth was another round where Chisora looked momentarily dangerous, but his success was brief. His attacks were only sporadic and he was fighting in spurts, because of his conditioning and the extra weight he was carrying, 17 pounds more than his last outing he could not go all out. At times he showed decent head movement, bobbing and weaving, even slipping jabs, but he needed to do that all the time, because he was so encumbered with the extra weight he was unable to do so and it proved fatal to his chances.
To beat fighters like Fury you need to apply constant pressure and work rate to take the giant boxer out of his comfort zone. Stand off and give him room and he will box your head off which is exactly what Chisora was allowing him to do.
That was the story of the contest really. Both men were spirited and showed lots of heart and determination but Fury’s work was more sustained and over the stretch he was the busier of the two. He was snapping jabs into Chisora’s face all night and also landing hooks to his opponents ample midriff as well as uppercutting well inside. Most importantly Fury showed fortitude and mental strength.
Throughout the contest there was showboating, baiting, taunting and bad blood so it was great to see both men displaying some Corinthian spirit after it was all over. Both paid each other respect, which made up for the gamesmanship and trash talking which I find unnecessary and demeaning in a sport where the threat of serious injury is always present.
Chisora also showed a good chin and durability in going the whole twelve rounds which was a first for him. Remember he is still only a baby in heavyweight terms at just 27 and can come again certainly at domestic level. He does need to shed the pounds if he is going to be effective in future though.
For Fury all I would advise is caution and perspective. Yes he won a tough fight and added two belts to his English title. But talk of a contest with WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world champion Wladimir Klitschko should remain just talk. Only if he is being offered silly money to face the vastly experienced champion should he consider that. This contest was exciting to watch but also highlighted the massive gulf in class between the domestic and the world scene.
Everyone has their views on this, but personally I would rather see Fury fight the winner of Michael Sprott versus Alexander Dimitrenko for the EBU (European) title in September. Then perhaps contests against Sam Sexton and Audley Harrison (if Harrison earns the right first) then a world top ten or fifteen contender before he steps in with Klitschko.
Based on the evidence of the Chisora fight Fury is still at least eighteen months away from being in with a serious chance of winning a world title. He can fight for one, but there is a difference between being the ‘opponent’ and part of Klitschko’s highlight reel and actually having a chance of winning down the line. Patience is the key.
The main thing is that heavyweight boxing on British television received a well-deserved and long awaited shot in the arm this Saturday.