By Daniel Cann
This Saturday sees a rare thing: a mouthwatering and exciting British heavyweight clash. Wilmslow’s Tyson Fury challenges British and Commonwealth champion Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora at Wembley Arena, London. For the winner there will be domestic bragging rights and the possibility of something much bigger, which we will go into later.
Photo: Hennessy Sports
Firstly let’s look at Fury. His name and size has garnered him plenty of attention in Britain. The fact that he is charismatic, outspoken and can dig a little has also helped him in the publicity department. He can boast exemplary amateur credentials with a Bronze medal won at the World Junior Championships and an ABA title in 2008.
Since turning pro in December 2008 he has shown good ring generalship, a cool head, patience, a nice jab and a decent uppercut. At six feet nine inches tall and usually weighing around eighteen and a half stone he is an intimidating prospect.
Fury has compiled a record of 14 – 0 (10 wins inside) beating the likes of Matthew Ellis and ‘Big’ John McDermott at domestic level. Apart from those names the young fighters record has mainly been built against overseas journeymen, which is perfectly normal at this stage of his career. His two wins over McDermott were for the English heavyweight title. Both times Fury was tested by a determined and experienced foe and, if you like, those fights were his ‘coming of age party.’ Prior to that I always wondered how the big 23-year-old would react under pressure.
Fury will tower over the six feet one and a half inch Chisora who usually weighs in at around seventeen and a half stone. Not that the height disparity should worry the 27-year-old boxer originally from Zimbabwe and now fighting out of Finchley.
Chisora had been training for a contest with current IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world champion the six feet six inch Wladimir Klitschko scheduled for March of this year. That one was cancelled due to an abdominal injury the defending champion suffered in training. As everyone knows Klitschko then added the WBA belt to his haul of titles by thoroughly outpointing David Haye in Hamburg earlier this month. It must have been frustrating for Chisora to see his challenge getting sidelined but from a business point of view you can see why Klitschko wanted Haye first.
I mention all of this as Chisora has been preparing to face a much taller opponent for the best part of nine months and has probably had plenty of quality sparring with boxers of a taller stature and a heavier weight to him. Preparing for a seasoned world champion and a decent domestic level boxer are worlds apart of course, but its not as if Chisora has had a sudden change of style and opponent. Mentally and physically he has been studying, training and planning a strategy for someone exactly of Fury’s height and build. So expect Chisora to be ready.
A look at ‘Del Boy’s’ record reveals similarities to Fury’s, he also has 14 wins with no losses and nine of those wins have come inside the scheduled distance. Arguably the two boxers are at the same level of development in their careers.
Since turning pro in 2007 Chisora has defeated cult favourite journeyman Tony Booth, common Fury opponent Lee Swaby (Chisora knocked Swaby out in three and Fury stopped him in four), Neil Simpson, Carl Baker, former British and Commonwealth champion and (an admittedly shopworn) Mike Tyson conqueror Danny Williams (who was past it himself) which earned Chisora the British title and finally two impressive wins over fellow prospect and classy boxer, Sam Sexton. Not a bad roll call of wins.
Chisora can be explosive as his early knockouts show, but he has also proved he can be dangerous late on as well, stopping Sexton in the ninth last time out back in September 2010. Apart from Fury the only other foe Chisora may face this Saturday is ring-rust. Hopefully he has managed to stay sharp and all that sparring has helped him stay focused.
Interestingly this fight is not just seen as deciding the British and Commonwealth titles but also an unofficial eliminator for a world title shot at Wladimir Klitschko.
Fury has recently told BBC Radio 5 Live as much no matter how unlikely that may seem to the boxing purist.
Remember Leon Spinks had only seven professional contests before challenging Muhammad Ali in 1978 and even more strangely amateur ace Pete Rademacher challenged Floyd Patterson for the world crown in his pro debut back in 1957 so stranger things have happened in heavyweight boxing!
With the current heavyweight crop looking decidedly thin at world level then it is perhaps unsurprising to see the Klitschko brothers eyes focused elsewhere. They have arguably cleaned up the heavyweight division between them, so expect some eyebrow raising match-ups for the foreseeable future.
Chisora recently told the Barnet Press: ‘I will show everyone that I am the top domestic heavyweight and that Fury isn’t what he thinks, Klitschko owes me a fight. I hope he’s a man of integrity and honours his commitment to me.’
The discredited Audley Harrison also threw his hat into the arena professing a desire to face the winner of Fury v Chisora but I doubt many will be queuing up to see that one! Since barely throwing a punch and nearly having his purse withheld in a third round defeat against Haye, the former Olympic gold medallist has not been in the ring and I don’t see how he can expect an instant shot at the winner of this one. I doubt there are many promoters in Britain anxious to set it up either.
The most likely scenario is that the winner of this should be granted a shot at the younger Klitschko either later this year or early next year. For the meantime both men will have to focus on each other as many careers have been undone by looking too far ahead.
For me this is just what British boxing needs, a decent ‘live’ domestic battle. Both are young, hungry and full of desire. Both men have huge self-belief and ambition and are not shameless self-promoters and blaggers. They can fight and want to prove that on a big stage. This Saturday they get that platform, as the contest will be screened live on terrestrial television in Britain so potentially will be seen by millions, which undoubtedly raise both men’s profiles. As long as the name of Klitschko continues to be attached to this event then expect big interest.
After the recent disappointment of Haye v Klitschko and the fallout regarding the ‘toe incident’ British fight fans want to see hunger, desire and excitement. I am sure that these two men can provide plenty of that. It’s a tough fifty – fifty contest but I am going to stick my neck out and say that after a few rough early patches trying to get inside that long jab and attempting to avoid that big uppercut I can see Chisora soaking up the punches and willing his way to victory sometime in the mid to late rounds after some thrilling see -saw moments. It is little wonder that this one has been billed ‘The Big Brawl.’