Has any fighter ever gained more in defeat than Derek Chisora?
Tomorrow night on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius at the O2 arena, we will see Derek Chisora (33-13 23KO) battle it out with fellow veteran Gerald Washington (20-15-1 13KO) in what promises to be an evenly matched, action packed, albeit slightly aimless match up. The winner will maintain their position as a top 15 to top 20 ranked heavyweight who can perhaps still call out some names in and around the top 10 of the division. The loser will be in a position where they should likely retire, but if they so desired could still be a gatekeeper for the multitude of hard-hitting prospects in need of a step up or reputable name on their record.
What is remarkable however, even on the eve of this slightly futile heavyweight dustup, with Derek Chisora very much in the twilight of his absorbing career, is both his marketability and the excitement that he still manages to generate. This is so much so that in the wake of Dillian Whyte’s adverse finding being reported and subsequently fight with Joshua being cancelled, there were genuine calls from sections of fans, pundits and boxing figures alike for Chisora to be thrown in with AJ himself.
Going back through the years, we have almost forgotten given recent battles that ‘Del Boy,’ particularly before 2018, was a fighter who would somewhat blow hot and cold, sometimes delivering performances of relentless aggression, whilst in others seemingly languorous and disinterested. No duality of performances epitomised this more so than his 2016 epic back and forth battle and fight of the year with Dillian Whyte, culminating in a razor thin split decision defeat, then being immediately followed by an uninspiring upset points loss to Agit Kabayel for the European title in Monaco. Following this fight, his first after being signed with Matchroom and eighth loss of his career, the outlook appeared to be bleak for the Finchley residing slugger.
What has unfolded for Chisora since then however, has been nothing short of astonishing. Rebranding himself as Derek ‘WAR’ Chisora under his manager at the time and former bitter rival David Haye, Chisora got the springboard victory his career so desperately needed, with a huge overhand right earning him a thrilling come from behind knockout victory over the battle-hardened and world ranked contender Carlos Takam. This fight proved to be a catapult for the now bona fide cult hero to transform into a genuine headline attraction in his own right, spearheading huge box office shows with a Dillian Whyte rematch, Oleksandr Usyk and two fights with Joseph Parker.
What is key to note about this subsequent run of blockbuster fights, that probably doesn’t apply to any other UK star attraction, is that the much-adored fan favourite has not once been on the victorious side. Has any fighter in boxing today ever gained more in defeat than Derek Chisora? His combination of heart, toughness, knockout power and willingness to meet his adversary in toe-to-toe exchanges has been so overwhelmingly on display in each of these fights, that the necessity of victory in a ‘WAR’ Chisora event has almost been irrelevant. It is also worth nothing that in between these ‘box office’ attraction fights, that he did manage to get a couple of solid wins over the likes of Arthur Szpilka and David Price. In recent years it has just been against the top and elite names of the division where Derek has come unstuck.
In his last two outings, we have seen ‘Del Boy’ have his hand raised, avenging a 2016 points defeat to Kubrat Pulev, getting the nod in a split decision that in all honesty could have gone either way. Debates over decision aside, in true Chisora style above all else this fight was a back-and-forth entertaining slug fest. We were then of course served up the absolute calamity of a trilogy between Chisora and the reigning Heavyweight king in Tyson Fury, which proved to be every bit the one-sided mismatch we had all feared.
Eight months on from the Fury drumming, of which there is no shame, and after losing four of his last five, the former European Champ and world title challenger will turn out once again tomorrow night, returning to his boxing home of the O2 arena.
Thankfully it is indeed Gerald Washington and not Anthony Joshua that he will be facing, in what will likely be an entertaining fight that you would make Chisora the slight favourite to get the victory, no doubt against the backdrop of a choir of ‘Ohhh Derek Chisora’ from his unwavering army of fans.
If Derek does indeed manage to get the win, where will he go from here? Since the second fight with Joseph Parker, where Chisora took significantly more punishment than their first meeting, there have started to be louder calls from the boxing fraternity for Derek to hang up the gloves. Yet here we are, two gruelling fights later and he is still preparing to lace them up once more and provide barbarous entertainment for UK boxing fans.
No matter what happens on Saturday, victory or defeat, one cannot help but be enamoured by the career of a man who after being seemingly having nowhere to go back in 2017, has fought on to give us as many Saturday nights of brutality as any within this period. I believe most UK fans would love to see Derek get the victory against Washington and then indeed retire, doing so with a small fortune in the bank and an adoration from the UK boxing fans that few have been so lucky to hold. Then again this is Derek Chisora we are talking about. Who would be truly surprised if in several months’ time we were see him headlining a show against a sizeable name once more?
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