by Johnny Walker
At the start of the 2013, the United Kingdom looked set to make a heavy impact on boxing’s heavyweight division, with emerging talents like giants David Price and Tyson Fury, returning veteran David Haye, and the enigmatic Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora all vying to replace the aging but still dominant brothers Klitschko, the Ukrainians who have ruled the division for nearly a decade.
As we approach the end of 2013, the results are decidedly mixed.
Haye and Fury were set to have a showdown in Manchester that would have been one of the biggest British bouts in years, but two mystery injuries to Haye that popped up out of nowhere scuppered that proposed tilt and left the rejected Fury himself so depressed that he is reportedly thinking of finding a new way to make a living. Fury’s much ballyhooed New York debut, which saw him dropped on his seat by former cruiser-weight champion Steve Cunningham before ultimately winning by stoppage, was hardly the stuff of legend either.
Meanwhile, as most know by now, David Price lost to American veteran Tony Thompson not once, which would have been excusable, but twice (to be fair, Price decked Thompson hard in the second bout and the American got what in the UK was a very slow count which allowed him to gather his senses). This led to Price ditching promoter Frank Maloney, who has now retired, and also long-time trainer Franny Smith.
Price has now hooked up with Haye’s impish trainer Adam Booth, who might be looking for something to do as his man Haye ponders retirement due to a shoulder injury (though on the off chance WBC heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko forgoes retirement and comes calling, one can also imagine Haye making a miraculous recovery).
Price has also signed up with Germany’s Sauerland boxing promotions, who also handle top heavyweight Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria. He recently announced that he is dropping his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles as seeks to rebuild his career.
“I am extremely proud to have been British and Commonwealth champion,” said Price in a prepared statement.
“I have some fantastic memories of some great nights winning and defending both belts. Now the time is right for me to move in a different direction in order to rebuild my career and achieve my ultimate goal of becoming heavyweight world champion. As for the fight with Derek (Chisora), this is something that really interests me and I’d hope it has the potential to be made later next year.”
As for Chisora, perhaps ironically he has ended up in the best position of any of the UK heavyweight hopefuls, not something that seemed likely coming off of losses to a one-armed Vitali Klitschko (who suffered the injury during their bout) and a brutal KO from countryman David Haye.
Chisora has since gotten himself into better shape and is on something of a run, with four KO wins this year, including stoppages over Germany’s Edmund Gerber and previously undefeated American Malik Scott.
Now, Chisora is recommending that countryman Price focus on rebuilding himself, as he instead aims at a showdown with American knockout artist Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, who is 30-0, with all of his wins coming by KO.
Chisora is scheduled to fight on the 28th of February in London, and is anxious for Wilder to be his opponent. In an open letter to the American, Chisora writes:
I’m asking you man-to-man and hope that you have the honour and courage to accept my challenge and fight me.
I’m in this business to prove that I’m the best and to become a world champion which I’m sure you are too, so take me up on my challenge and let’s do this and get it on early next year.
I’ll be honest, I don’t rate you. You’ve put together a record of 30 knockouts from 30 fights, but I believe that you are grossly overhyped for knocking over nobodies – which is understandable for the first two years as a pro when you’re learning – but after 30 fights you’re still knocking over nobodies. As a guide I fought Vitali Klitschko for the world title in only my 18th fight. When are you going to step up and fight a real contender?
There’s only one way to prove me wrong and shut me up and that is to get in the ring with me….
Chisora goes on to state that there should be no problem putting such a match together, and that eagerly awaits the American’s response:
Richard Schaefer from your promoter’s Golden Boy Promotions has a good relationship with my promoter Frank Warren so there’s no problem getting it made.
Deontay, if you are a proud fighting man then you will take up this challenge and give the fans and media what they want to see….
Not many would have bet on Dereck Chisora ending up on top of the UK heavyweight heap as 2013 comes to a close.
But that is exactly why boxing fans love the sport: its ultimate unpredictability.