By Hans Olson
This Saturday at the Olympiahalle Munchen in Munich, Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora will attempt to dethrone the number-one heavyweight in the world, WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko.
An easy task, it will not be.
That it won’t be a task of ease is due to the fact that “Dr. Iron-Fist” has lost nary a round—let alone a fight—since returning to the ring in 2008 after a layoff of nearly four years.
Say what you will about the current heavyweight division…Vitali’s dominance has been impressive.
Beating the likes of Samuel Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola, Kevin Johnson, Albert Sosnowski, Shannon Briggs, Odlanier Solis, and Tomasz Adamek— a group of fighters holding a combined record of 280-10-3 at the time of opposition against Big Bro—is not something to be dismissed…
Nor is Vitali’s career knockout percentage of 88.89% (the best in heavyweight championship history).
Simply put, the dude is an absolute beast.
Even at his relatively advanced age of 40, it’s hard to pick against him…
…in any fight.
Enter Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora, the eccentric Zimbabwe-born Londoner who burst onto the European scene with a 2nd round TKO of Danny Williams in May of 2010. That win, along with his TKO9 of Sam Sexton not long after, propelled Chisora into the conscious of boxing observers worldwide. When “Del Boy” was chosen to fight Vitali’s younger brother Wladimir later in 2010, Dereck figured to have earned a once in a lifetime shot at a heavyweight title…
It wasn’t to be…
Wladimir suffered an abdominal injury in training camp leading up to their scheduled December 2010 showdown and the fight was off. Things seemed to be okay though, for the fight was rescheduled to April 30, 2011. Then, disappointingly, Wladimir pulled out for a second time, citing complications from the aforementioned abdominal tear…
Popular opinion is that the real reason Wlad opted out was to face David Haye, who by that point had finally agreed to terms to fight him (a much bigger fight at the box-office than Wlad/Chisora).
To say “Del Boy” was letdown would be an understatement.
Certainly uninspired in the wake of missing the chance at championship glory against a Klitschko, Chisora ballooned up to 261 lbs when he fought in a losing effort against fan-favorite Tyson Fury. It was the most “Del Boy” had ever weighed going into a fight, and given his lackluster performance…it showed.
At that point, most pundits had written Dereck off as just another prospect who would likely never make it to the “next level…”
And then came last December’s bout with Robert Helenius…
Against the undefeated Helenius, Chisora fought like a man possessed. Channeling what seemed to be the spirit of a prime Joe Frazier, Chisora bobbed and weaved and smothered Helenius, brutalizing him over the course of 12 rounds. CompuBox statistics had “Del Boy” dominant in every category; Chisora out-landing him with a staggering 41% to 22% in total punches landed, out-jabbing the taller Helenius 31% to 15%, and besting the Finnish Phenom in power shots 46% to 36%.
I personally saw the fight as so one-sided that I had Chisora winning in a shutout, 120-108.
Insanely, Helenius was given the victory with scores of 115-113 in his favor on the scorecards of judges Giuseppe Quartarone and Manuel Olivier Palomo. Only judge Leszek Jankowiak saw the fight in favor of Chisora with a ‘still-too-close-but-at-least-it-was-right’ score of 115-113.
I’m not sure I’ve heard anybody express the belief that Helenius won the fight—-which is also probably why I haven’t heard many scoff at the idea of “Del Boy” getting this crack at Big-Bro…
There’s that old adage, “good things come to those who wait..”
Dereck Chisora has waited a long time to get in the ring with a Klitschko.
How successful he’ll be remains to be seen…
Fighting Vitali is never associated—at least in the ring—as a “good thing…”
One of the more interesting backdrops in the promotion of Chisora’s last few fights, has been his openness in discussing sexuality in a way seldom seen in the ultra-macho world of boxing.
On BoxNation a few weeks back, he and Vitali “faced-off” with John Rawling in a segment not unlike Max Kellerman’s popular HBO spot.
During the “face-off” interview, Rawling said to Vitali that Dereck “obviously tries to get under an opponents skin” – Chisora has done everything from biting dudes inside the ring to kissing his foes at press conferences…
The response from Big Bro?
“I’m very conservative. I only kiss women.”
Chisora’s response shocked many, even if it could have been in a joking manor.
“I swing both ways player, I swing both ways. Don’t worry about that. I swing both ways…”
This seemed to shock many…
Speaking with Guardian UK’s Donald McRae recently, Dereck elaborated.
“There’s nothing wrong with being gay or lesbian. If my cousin was gay I’d support him. If my sister was a lesbian I’d support her. I didn’t say I was gay.”
This is refreshing stuff to hear from someone who’s fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. It’s also a reason why not only boxing, but sport in general could use more guys like Dereck Chisora.
Whether his comments are true, rooted in gamesmanship, or merely tongue and cheek isn’t of importance—the fact that Chisora is open to speaking his mind on a subject historically frowned upon certainly will resonate with many who could use a voice like his supporting their lifestyle.
“People are ignorant,” continued Chisora in his interview with McRae. “Bisexuality started a long, long time ago. You just have to support it. There’s nothing wrong with it. We all bleed the same, we’re all going one way in the end – six feet down. I support the gays 24/7.”
As for his own sexuality and how people could view him given his open-nature of communication with the media?
“People can say what they want to say,” said Chisora. “It’s up to them. I don’t care. Who knows? Only I know.”
On Saturday night, Dereck Chisora will walk into the squared-circle to fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. He’ll enter the ring to fight Vitali Klitschko, a man who will certainly go down as one of the Top-5 Heavyweights of all time.
Whatever happens on Saturday night may not resonate in the United States, a place where the heavyweight division is all but forgotten….
But overseas in Europe, they’ll embrace the level of fight that this one truly is…
Dereck Chisora will give it his all. Unlike a certain countryman of Chisora’s who mailed it in over the course of 12 boring rounds last July…win, lose, or draw…you can expect “Del Boy” to bring it.
In James Joyce’s “The Dead,” there’s a line that reads “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”
Saturday night, Dereck Chisora will pass boldly into another world of sorts.
Watching Saturday, I’ll make it a point to appreciate the full glory and passion of both him, and his rival Vitali Klitschko as they do what so few of us could ever dream of doing.
America may not care about the heavyweight division…but that doesn’t mean the heavyweight division needs to care about America.
THIS is a heavyweight fight.
I’m into it.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson