By Johnny Walker
This Saturday’s WBC heavyweight championship bout between challenger Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora of the UK and champ Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine will finally see the old school boxing theories of “how to beat a Klitschko,” long espoused by “experts” like American trainer Teddy Atlas, given a fair test.
Simply put, Chisora, a big-framed, strong heavyweight who at 6′ 1″ tall can nevertheless move nimbly in the ring, is the best heavyweight out there to test the oft-repeated notion that the old Joe Frazier-styled “bob and weave,” with lots of head and upper body movement and quick forays into close range and out again, is the best formula by which to beat one of the giant Ukrainian brothers who rule boxing’s heavyweight division.
While some have questioned Chisora’s championship credentials, there really is no one else in the top tier of heavyweights today with Del Boy’s combination of power and movement. Vitali’s previous opponent, former cruiserweight king Tomasz Adamek, had intended to try out the “Atlas formula,” but as he put it, one dose of Vitali’s right-handed “1000 volt rocket punch” short-circuited his brain and quickly ended his evening as anything other than an exercise in survival. The old saying, “everyone has a plan until he gets hit in the face,” certainly applied to Adamek against Vitali.
Unlike Adamek, however, Chisora is not moving up from the lighter weight divisions. A true heavyweight, Del Boy has a broad back and a thick neck, features which should help him to withstand, at least initially, the fistic bombardment from big Vitali. But it’s also safe to say that, in his career to date, Chisora has never been hit quite like Vitali is going to hit him.
Big hitter Robert Helenius, by Chisora’s own admission, hurt the Briton badly in round one of their recent match, but Chisora was able to recover and dominate much of the rest of the fight against his 6′ 7″ foe. Those looking for reasons to believe that things might be different for Chisora than for all of the other opponents battered by Vitali Klitschko since he came back from retirement can take some heart in that (though it should also be remembered that Helenius was fighting that night with a bad right shoulder).
However, as Vitali warned Chisora recently: “Dereck, I’m not Robert Helenius.”
No, he’s Vitali Klitschko – one of the most fearsome champions in the history of the heavyweight division. Yet “experts” like Teddy Atlas have tended to make it sound like it would be an easy task for the “right” heavyweight to take down a Klitschko brother, if only said heavyweight would utilize the proper tactics. And remarkably, Chisora’s trainer, Don Charles, seems to agree. “This is probably gonna be one of Dereck’s easiest fights,” Charles contends. “People might say, ‘What are you talking about?’ But I’ll say it again: this is going to be one of the easiest fights Dereck Chisora has had to date.”
“Dereck Chisora has the style to beat this guy,” Charles says. “In the heavyweight division today, I don’t see anyone else with the style to give [the Klitschko brothers] any problem. He will get to [Vitali] inside, and do what’s necessary.”
Will Chisora be able to bob and weave and slip his way inside on Vitali? Or will he just be another guy who had big plans, only to see them go out the window when faced with the reality of Vitali Klitschko’s unique mixture of offense and defense?
If Chisora can’t make the old school tactics work against Vitali, it is safe to say that no one else currently fighting can either.