By: Ste Rowen
Sequels and reboots are rarely worth the time it takes to make them, but unlike in the movies, boxing’s rematches and reignited rivalries, more often than not, entertain. This Saturday night’s box office event sees Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora 2: This Time It’s Personal…or something along those lines.
Whatever the tagline for the fight, a rematch of one of the best, all-action and non-title heavyweight fights is just days away after the original controversial decision, a LOT of back-and-forth; Whyte and Chisora are ready to get the O2 Arena rocking.
The two men fought just over two years ago on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina in Manchester. That night, with all the talk of Dillian gearing up for a big 2017, and whether Dereck was already ‘washed’, once the bell rang both men went hell for leather in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate.
The first fight began riding off a wave off an amplified bit of hype, including a press conference confrontation that saw one-time world title challenger, Chisora declare he was the ‘baddest man on the planet’ before literally launching a table in Whyte’s direction. So much was the anticipation for the bout that by the time the first bell rang, it seemed the only logical conclusion would be a disappointing matchup. That wasn’t the case.
Nearly knock-downs, heavy head & body slugging, and a controversial decision to top it all off; for 12 brutal rounds the two Brits went all out in a power-punching, but technically sloppy, classic. ‘Del Boy’ seemed to spend more of the fight on the front foot but Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ regained ground through sweeping, almost wild hooks, connecting.
Whoever you saw as the winner, it was close, and the judges thought so too as they awarded a split decision to Whyte.
‘‘I think I won,’’ Dereck, 29-8 (21KOs), said of the first fight when the two fighters sat down for Sky Sports Gloves Are Off programme, ‘‘They gave it to him because of what happened during the press conferences.’’
‘‘It was old school. I just went in there and thought ‘You know what? Let me go all out. If I get knocked out, I get knocked out’, I was just ready to go.
I’m gonna knock this fool out.’’
Fighting at the O2 for the third time in a row, Dillian is convinced he’s a different animal to the one who fought his domestic rival in 2016,
‘‘I never underestimated him. I knew he was a tough guy…He’s a veteran where every fight he has is last chance saloon…I’m a warrior by nature and so’s he. We had it and I think the same thing is gonna happen again this time, except somebody’s getting knocked out this time.’’
‘Del Boy’ linked up with his former opponent, David Haye in recent months, but Whyte isn’t worried about his rival teaming up with a past world champion,
‘‘I hope he does come in shape, I hope David can give him a 10% cos he’s gonna need it. He fought a very inexperienced Dillian Whyte. I had doubts about going the distance but now, I’m a different person.
He’s gonna get banged out!’’
Since the first fight, Whyte, 24-1 (17KOs), has teetered on the edge of a first world title shot with WBC champion, Deontay Wilder but was constantly made to wait, instead decisioning Robert Helenius, savagely knocking out former WBA ‘Regular’ titlist, Lucas Browne and roughing it out to a decision win over former WBO champion, Joseph Parker.
Chisora took 10 months off before stepping back in the ring after the Whyte defeat, but since then he’s won two walk-over bouts, dropped a decision to European champion, Agit Kabayel but, in one of his greatest wins, fought out another classic to stop Carlos Takam in 8 rounds.
The winner of Saturday’s main event will almost certainly be Joshua’s Wembley opponent, although fan pressure for the Wilder-unification fight could derail those plans. But if the rematch between Whyte and Chisora is anything like the first bout, we could be being setup for a rubber match in 2019.
Also on Saturday night’s O2 card…
Fighting for the WBC flyweight world championship, Cristofer Rosales takes on one-time world title challenger, Charlie Edwards. Nicaraguan, Rosales is coming off a body-shot KO victory over former Olympian Paddy Barnes – his first title defence.
Edwards fought and loss for the IBF belt in 2016 where he was stopped by John Riel Casimero. Since then he’s stayed busy but had little impact on the division.
Ryan Walsh vs. Reece Bellotti
Ryan Walsh looks to defend his featherweight British title when he goes up against 13-1 (11KOs), Reece Bellotti.
Bellotti tasted professional defeat for the first time this year when he was stopped by Ryan Doyle in June but bounced back four months later with a dominant 6-round points win over Brayan Mairena.
Walsh, 22-2-2 (11KOs) drew his only fight of 2018 when he fought out 12 entertaining rounds with the unbeaten, Isaac Lowe.
David Price vs. Tom Little
In the second all British heavyweight bout on the card, David Price looks to once again return from a stoppage defeat when he takes on Tom Little.
Price quit on his stool in after the 4th round of his matchup with Sergey Kuzmin in September. A loss that followed a devastating knockout to Alexander Povetkin earlier this year.
Also heading into this weekend on a run of defeats, Little was stopped by rising star, Daniel Dubois in five rounds six months ago; before that he was taken out by another prospect, Filip Hrgovic in four.
Joshua Buatsi vs. Renold Quinlan
Speaking of rising prospects, light-heavyweight, Joshua Buatsi looks to defend his WBA ‘International’ strap for the second time in a 10-round fight with career-168lber, Renold Quinlan.
Buatsi, 8-0 (6KOs), made lightwork of Tony Averlant in October and Saturday’s bout will be his sixth of 2018.
Quinlan, most famous for his 11th round stoppage to Chris Eubank Jr in 2017, goes into the Buatsi fight off the back of his second pro loss where he was stopped by Damien Hooper in nine rounds back in April.