THROUGHOUT his long and weathered career, Dereck Chisora has stepped into the ring with some of the most formidable heavyweight fighters. With names such as Vitali Klitchko, David Haye and Kubrat Pulev on his record, it is easy to forget that Dereck Chisora is only 33 years old.
Chisora has often cut a subdued figure in his fights. His style is coarse and indecorous, unlike several higher profile heavyweight fighters today. On Saturday evening, Chisora challenges German Agit Kabayel in Monte Carlo for the European heavyweight title, a belt that Chisora held from 2013 to 2014, and has previously lost on three different occasions. 25-year-old Kabayel is an unknown quantity, with 16 professional fights and a 75% knockout percentage, on paper he is a solid opponent.
But he has never fought someone like Dereck Chisora.
Don’t let his downcast disposition fool you, Chisora is a bewildering and unpredictable character. His behavior outside the squared circle has often been enough to imbue his ring presence with an added intensity, and not always for the right reasons.
During a press conference for his December bout with Dillian Whyte, Chisora launched a table in the direction of his opponent; he instigated a now infamous brawl with David Haye at the post-fight conference after boxing Vitali Klitchko in 2012. Before that he had slapped his opponent during a head-to-head and spat water in the face of Vitali’s brother, Wladimir Klitchko. Perhaps most bizarrely, during a face-off for his 2010 fight with Carl Baker, he decided to plant a kiss on the lips of his adversary.
Chisora is a character, and his trainer Don Charles has described him as a complex person who is a connoisseur of jazz music and has a penchant for fine art. Should the volatile boxer come through his fight against Kabayel on Saturday night, Charles believes that a world title shot is firmly within grasp. “Nothing will give me more pleasure than to see him lift a version of the world title,” Charles said.
Heavyweight fighters often perfect their craft into the latter years of their career and at 33, Chisora may be approaching his peak. Indeed, the word from the Chisora camp is that the fighter is anything but the long-suffering journeyman that his morose and laboring ring-style may suggest. On the contrary, Saturday’s fight marks the opportunity for a resurrection of Dereck Chisora into the higher echelons of world heavyweight boxing. “Right now, I’m in beast mode,” Chisora said yesterday at the pre-fight press conference. “We’re going to bring the hurricane.”
If we are to take Chisora’s words in earnest, then it sounds as if he is on the brink of a new chapter in his career. Coming through the stocky and heavy-handed Kabayel with a convincing performance on Saturday would open the door potentially for match-ups with Wilder, Joshua or Parker in 2018. Chisora certainly believes he can do so, “I’m going to destroy this kid,” he said. “There’s no two ways about it.”