Paul McCreath - Just a few days ago word leaked out that British heavyweight champion Derek Chisora has been offered a title shot against Wlad Klitschko. While it is not known yet as we write this if Chisora will accept the offer it sure has boxing fans talking. While some of the better informed are suggesting that this would be a gross mismatch the majority of fans especially those not from the UK are asking"Who is this guy? " It seems like a good idea to let people know a bit more about this young fighter.
Chisora recently put his title on the line in a double title match with the Commonwealth champion Sam Sexton who is another Brit whose only loss came against Chisora back in 2008. In their first match both went into the fight undefeated and Sexton was leading on points when he was stopped in the sixth and last rouind.. Many thought that Sam would win the rematch but after 8 fairly close rounds Chisora wore Sexton down and stopped him in the 9th round. With the shortage of top prospects in the division fans are now asking if Chisora might be one who could climb to the top. Today we will take a closer look and try to estimate his chances.
Derek is 26 years old and was born in Zimbabwe but has lived in the UK for many years and is thus eligible for the British title. He stands 6 foot one inch and usually weighs around 245 pounds. That is 17 stone 7 pounds if you are British. He is a little short for a heavyweight but I am reminded that Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson were no taller and they did just fine. His weight seems a bit heavy but he looks solid in appearance. Derek is no slickster so the added strength he might gain from the weight is probably needed more than the speed he might gain from coming in lighter. His normal style is to get in close and bang to the head and body. He has good punching power although it is not the kind that stops an opponent with one shot. He wears them down but is quite good at finishing the fight once his foe is hurt. He also appears to have good stamina.
Chisora had a good amateur career which ended with him winning the 2006 English ABA title at superheavyweight. He defeated another currently undefeated English pro prospect Tom Dallas by a 16-14 score in the final. The tournament was actually held in December 2005 since it was moved ahead because of the coming Olympics. The 2005 winner from earlier in the year was David Price but he did not enter again in December since he was busy qualifying for the Olympics.
Derek turned pro in early 2007 and after an easy debut started meeting some demanding tests. In his second match he met 154 fight veteran Tony Booth then followed that by going in with Welsh amateur star Darren Morgan who was 5-1 as a pro. Fight number 4 was with 11-3 Paul Butlin then number five came against Sexton who was 7-0. There were no soft touches in that stretch considering Chisora's lack of experience and he was beginning to attract a lot of attention. Unfortunately the next year was not so impressive. He continued to win but his opponents were nothing too difficult and Derek semed to have stopped progressing. He hit bottom when in a rematch with Butlin he struggled to win an 8 round decision. This was the bout that saw the famous biting incident and Chisora was suspended for 4 months. There were many who were ready to write him off at this point as they wondered about his mental makeup.
Fortunately Derek seems to have learned his lesson. After his suspension he took one tune-up then accepted a match with former European champ Matt Skelton in February of this year. When Skelton pulled out with an injury he was then matched with British champ Danny Williams in a title match. After first accepting the bout Williams pulled out late stating he needed more time. Chisora then met instead another replacement Carl Baker in an eliminator with the winner to get Williams later. Baker had upset Williams in a 3 round fight in the Prizefighter tournament a few months earlier so this promised to be an interesting match but Baker came in at a fat 280 pounds and was stopped in 2 rounds.
Next came the title match with Williams in May but Williams did not train any harder than Baker and looked shot while being stopped in the second round. Chisora now had the British title but he had not really been tested in gaining the crown. The Sexton rematch would be the real test. We all know that Derek stopped Sexton to add the Commonwealth crown to his British belt but how good was he? I have seen most of his fights including these last three and I must admit that until the Sexton rematch I was not too impressed. What I don't like is his wide looping punches. I have to wonder what will happen when he meets a puincher who throws his shots right down the middle. Time will tell but I did see significant improvement against Sexton. At times he moved his head well as he worked his way in close. Later in the fight he showed a very good jab. He will have to work on using both those skills more if he is to reach the next level. His chin so far has been solid. He still has had only 14 fights, all wins with 9 KOs. He is young so he has lots of time. He needs to acquire more experience against solid old pro types who might expose a few flaws and teach him a few things. There is nothing truly exceptional about Chisora but with the shape of the division today he may have enough to make a mark. Remember it is not what he can do now but what he may be able to do in a couple of years that really counts. He must continue to work hard and improve for some time to reach the top 10. Right now I would put him near the bottom of the top 25.
I don't think that we are looking at a future world champ here. but the Euro crown might be within his reach soon. There has been talk of a bout with the much hyped Tyson Fury but I doubt if we will see that for a long time yet. That bout has the potential to be much bigger down the road so I expect both camps will want to wait. As for the fight with Wlad I hope they forget that for now. If Derek just wants a big payday before somebody else beats him then maybe this match makes sense. If he hopes to further his career I don't see how taking the likely beating from Wlad will do him any good. You only need to look at what has happened to Wlad's other victims afterward to see where I am coming from here. Only Derek knows what he really wants but I am looking forward to see what happens with this young gun.