Interview with Derek Chisora’s Trainer Don Charles
By Ezio Prapotnich
A fighter’s performance is not unlike acting. Talent and dedication rarely stand up on their own, if not supported by a solid game plan and firm instructions. From the corner, the trainer has a 360 degree view of the situation and, like a director, he should know when to follow the script and when to improvise, or when to cut, if need be. In this sense, Don Charles is a sure nominee for an Oscar in the UK, especially after the brilliant piece of strategy that earned Ashley Theophane the British Light Welterweight title against Lenny Daws earlier this year.
“When you deal with someone who has a high work rate and good stamina like Daws, you have to break their body so they will have nothing left in the later rounds. That’s exactly what we did. Ashley is not a concussive puncher but he is systematic and consistent. He worked downstairs for the first 5 rounds, then we started headhunting. Daws was already beaten before getting knocked down three times in round 9” he explained.
Soon in a theatre near you, Don Charles’s next release is a double feature starring Ashley Theophane and Derek Chisora in defence of their British and Commonwealth titles…
BOXINGINSIDER: Theophane will be facing former IBO and EBU champion Jason Cook, who drew against Lenny Daws by the way, in a voluntary defence of the Lonsdale belt. Can you explain why you choose him as opponent?
DON CHARLES: It was actually Ashley’s choice, as he wants to establish himself as the best in the UK in his division. We studied Cook’s fight with Daws and I think he won.
BI: What about Frankie Gavin’s challenge? Why did you dismiss him?
DC: Besides being disrespectful in his approach, he has not yet earned the right to fight for a British title. He still is a world amateur champion while Ashley had to go a long way to get his chance. Also, although he is very talented, it would be premature for him to face Theophane. He would destroy his career before it even began.
BI: You are just coming off another win in Prizefighter Welterweight with Yassine El Maachi. How do you feel about that?
DC: I am still rejoicing. If anybody deserved to get that opportunity and the recognition, that’s Yassine, after being the most avoided fighter in the country for so long. The week before the fight he was suffering from a chest infection and I was about to pull him out, but his will power was so strong he convinced me to go through and he did it. He is still not well and on medication. It was a big gamble and he won it. The only word for it is magical.
BI: So, what is next for him?
DC: We are looking at a couple of offers from promoters at the moment and hopefully he will have his next fight in September.
BI: Did you break up with promoter Steve Goodwin?
DC: Steve Goodwin is a very nice man and a genuine human being. He believed in Yassine and promoted him, but he knows he cannot take him any further without TV coverage. He does not want to hold him back. He is still working with us as consultant but he is willing to relinquish the promotional rights.
BI: Recently, we saw you at York Hall in former WBU Featherweight champion Choi Tseevenpurev’s corner. Did you train him for his fight with Jackson Asiku?
DC: Choi’s promoter Spencer Fearon is a good friend of mine. We used to box for the same amateur club. He asked me to wrap Tseevenpurev’s hands in the dressing room and I ended up warming him up for the fight. I was asked to work the corner, but I am superstitious and I did not want to take chances, having not trained the fighter all the way. So, I was there but not as the main man.
BI: What is your assessment of the Klitschko-Haye fight? Would you still be willing to put Derek Chisora in the ring with Wlad?
DC: I was very disappointed as I picked Haye to win. I expected him to be more committed but he approached the fight very negatively. He was petrified at the idea of getting knocked out. I knew that if he did not make it within four rounds he would lose. He has stamina problems because, not being a natural heavyweight, he grew too much muscle to look bigger. About the possibility of Derek fighting Klitschko, after this fight we are even more confident.
BI: Did you see something about Wlad that you think you could exploit?
DC: Nothing we did not know from day 1, when the fight was first offered to us. Chisora has not only the ideal style to beat him, but most importantly the desire to do it. Also, Klitschko has the same stamina problem as Haye. All that muscle requires oxygen to feed on and that tells on him. I don’t care if he reads this: he cannot get rid of his muscles overnight. It’s too late now.
BI: Why did this fight fail to happen twice?
DC: I believe they took us for granted. A confidential source informed us that Klitschko had trained only four weeks for the first supposed fight. You can tell from his face, his facial muscles at the press conferences. Against Haye he was trained, against us he looked like a civilian. I think it was Steward who advised him to pull out. He realized Derek is too hungry and too risky. And he is right. That’s what makes him a great trainer.
BI: Does the fact that Emmanuel Steward has not trained Fury for his upcoming fight against Chisora reassure you about the outcome?
DC: It only confirms what I already know. If Fury was really such a good prospect, he would have wanted to be involved. He realized the kid is just big in size. If he wasn’t 6 ft 9, he would not be a heavyweight boxer to begin with. His handlers think he is better than he is, but he is poorly schooled. They have been very foolish to put him in with Derek. They got it totally wrong and we are going to show them the truth on the 23rd.
BI: Can you give any details about your tactics? Will it go on points?
DC: We are not leaving it to the judges and the referee. WE are going to be the judges and the referee. The strategy is not a secret, Derek said it already: he is going to be on Fury like a rash. He is going to force him to fight when he does not want to, to throw punches where he does not want to throw them. I sincerely hope Fury trained for this fight. It will not affect the outcome but it will make it more fun to watch.
BI: What are Chisora’s plans after this fight, assuming he wins? Do you have any concern at all about the result?
DC: We know what is on the horizon, but one thing at the time. Our focus in on Fury at the moment. We are going to make a statement. We are going to demonstrate how to deal with a taller man with longer reach. My only concern is that Wladimir Kitschko will duck us again when he sees it.
The Big Brawl – Fury vs Chisora(also featuring Ashley Theophane vs Jason Cook) will take place Sat 23rd July 2011at Wembley Arena, London.
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