Chisora eyes world title

Harare – Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora has rebounded in spectacular fashion, since he was beaten by David Haye in the Battle of Britain last year, and after winning five fights on the bounce, including the European heavyweight crown, his eyes are now firmly fixed on the world crown.

That could mean a showdown with IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko. And Chisora, who has punished himself in the gym to shed some of the weight baggage that slowed him in the past, wants to have that battle, if it happens, in Africa where he was born in Zimbabwe.

He needs to win another eliminator, before he can plunge into the ring with Wladimir, and that means a possible re-match against Tyson Fury with the winner getting the ticket to take on the giant Ukraine superstar.

Chisora lost to Fury when they last met but the Zimbabwe-born British heavyweight boxer has seemingly perfected the art of doing it right, in rematches, and two years after his controversial loss to Robert Helenius in the fight for the European heavyweight title, he bounced back to win the same title in September.

And it was his performance, in that match against Edmund Gerber of Germany, which caught the eye as a leaner and fitter Chisora dominated the contest and stopped his opponent in five rounds.

In November 2013, he defended his title against Ondrej Pala, one of the four heavyweight boxers who have lost to Chisora in a crash programme in the last few months. This, as Chisora’s promoters rebuild his profile after he lost to Haye, who produced an explosive performance en-route to a five-round victory in July 2012.

Hector Alfredo Avila and Malik Scott have also fallen while, last month, he won a unanimous decision after a dominant performance against Kevin Johnson.

And Chisora feels he is now in prime condition, at the age of 30, to fight for the world heavyweight title crown.

“I’m enjoying boxing, I’m in a good place – I hope I stay in that place. The more I lose weight, the more my fights will be great,” Chisora told journalists after watching Wladimir defend his title against Alexander Povetkin in Russia.

“I didn’t sleep for four days there – I liked it. You don’t want to know – what happened in Russia stays in Russia.

“Povetkin was fighting two people, Klitschko and the ref. He’s too nice a guy. You need to be an evil person. You have to be ruthless, take no prisoners, and just go crazy. You’re not Mr Nice Guy when you’re in that ring.

“They didn’t let me in (to Klitschko’s changing room). They hate me. You know when you just know that someone hates you, that’s how it was.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the year Muhammad Ali and George Foreman brought the Rumble in the Jungle to Africa, in an iconic world heavyweight boxing showdown in the then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, that has remained part of boxing folklore.

On October 30, 1974, Ali took on world heavyweight champion Foreman who, as the younger boxer, was odds-on favourite to win, and that he had destroyed both Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, the only two boxers who had beaten Ali then, provided the backing substance for those who believed in Foreman.

In stifling heat of Kinshasa, Foreman dominated the opening rounds but Ali hung onto the ropes, in a strategy that would eventually drain energy from the champion, and with 30 seconds left in the eighth round, Ali counter-attacked and knocked out the champ.

Chisora is not as big a name in boxing as Ali, widely considered to be the greatest boxer of all-time, but he wants to bring a mega-boxing show to Africa, just like what Ali did 40 years ago, and his opponent will be Wladimir.

“There’s so much hate between me and Wladimir that it would be a great spectacle,” Chisora told The Telegraph. “The Germans know me. They can see I’m not afraid to go anywhere and fight anyone. They and he knows I’m a fighter. I put fear into people.

“I want to fight Wladimir Klitschko this year, but I don’t want him coming to us dictating terms. We have to be able to force this issue with him by becoming mandatory challenger, so that fight can go to purse bids. I want to take it to Africa, to Zaire.

“Frank (Warren, his manager) knows I want that, and if we could take the fight to Africa it would be the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ all over again.”

Where then could that huge fight be held? In Harare, given Chisora’s appeal, tickets would sell out at the 60 000-capacity National Sports Stadium but it’s in South Africa where such a fight could get the corporate branding that it needs although, in terms of numbers at the gates, they will fall short

“For Chisora to fight in Harare, where he was born and bred, for the world heavyweight championship, it would be the best possible homecoming show one could ever dream of,” Zimbabwe’s leading sports consultant, Shepherd Chiware, said.

“It will be the biggest sporting event in this town I can imagine, even bigger than the exhibition match between the Warriors and Brazil in the lead-up to the World Cup in 2010.

“I can tell you that the organisers can easily sell 80 000 to 100 000 tickets, the only challenge would be managing such a huge number of people at a facility that is meant to cater for 60 000.

“But you know a boxing match is different from a soccer tie because you have ringside seats right on the field, which creates more space.”

February 2014
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