THE 12-rounder between veteran British heavyweights Dereck Chisora, 31-9 (22), and David Price, 25-6 (20), is the main attraction on the Josh Taylor-Regis Prograis undercard at the O2 Arena in Greenwich this Saturday (October 26). Originally, Chisora had been scheduled to face former WBO champion Joseph Parker, but the New Zealander pulled out in early October due to illness, apparently caused by a spider bite. Around a week later it was announced that Price would be his replacement in what is a must-win match for both men.
Last time out in July, Chisora and Price shared a bill, with each notching impressive victories. Chisora KO’d his fellow ex-WBC title challenger Artur Szpilka in two rounds, while Price halted Dave Allen’s good run of form by forcing him to retire after 10. Ahead of the bout, Chisora has been training without a fixed coach after parting ways with Dave Coldwell because of logistical issues. The Finchley fighter wanted to locate his camp in London, but the Rotherham-based Dave Coldwell could not commit to this. As of yet, there has been no news on who will be in Chisora’s corner on fight night. The 35-year-old’s manager, old rival David Haye, commented: “It’s a surprise. All will be revealed.”
Standing at 6ft 8ins, the hulking Price towers over the 6ft 1 1/2in Chisora. The 36-year-old Liverpudlian also possesses an eight-inch reach advantage over his opponent (82ins to 74ins). When he puts his size and range to good use by pumping out thudding jabs, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist is an imposing force, especially when his devastating power is added into the equation. However, expending too much nervous energy has often proved his downfall – negatively affecting his stamina and punch resistance and heightening his vulnerability (although he has also suffered some bad luck with drug cheats).
Boasting a long list of quality opposition, the enigmatic Chisora is durable and dangerous when in the mood, but you never quite know what you are going to get from him. He has seemed focused in the build-up, so the pick is for the stocky Londoner to chop Price down with booming overhand rights and clumping hooks around the halfway mark.
Another interesting domestic duel on this Matchroom Boxing/Team Sauerland co-promotion – live on Sky Sports Box Office (UK) and DAZN (US) – sees Coatbridge’s former three-weight world titlist Ricky Burns, 43-7-1 (16), take on Barry’s ex-IBF featherweight king Lee Selby, 27-2 (9).
Like Chisora and Price, Burns and Selby have sparred each other in the past. They are both experienced operators at world level, especially the vastly seasoned Burns, who is battled-hardened at lightweight – the division in which this 12-rounder will be contested. Selby, in contrast, only moved up from 126lbs to 135lbs eight months ago. The rugged Omar Douglas made Selby work hard for his unanimous points victory that night. Burns, meanwhile, made his most recent appearance almost a year ago against previous British belt-holder Scott Cardle, whom he stopped in sensational fashion in the third frame.
The owner of a fantastic jab and tireless engine, Burns is as gritty as they come. Selby, too, is a tough customer, though he prefers to employ slick skills and smart movement, rather than getting stuck in up close. The younger man by four years, the 32-year-old Selby no longer has to put himself through hell to make weight, as was the case when he was boxing at featherweight. He can win this one on the scorecards.
Having already bagged British and Commonwealth titles, Hackney cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie, 13-0 (10), aims to become European champ by dethroning Belgium’s Yves Ngabu, 20-0 (14), in an intriguing clash of unbeatens.
Ngabu, 30, has yet to compete outside of his home nation, though is based in Sheffield, where he trains under Dominic Ingle. The Roeselare native is muscular and powerful, but is significantly shorter than the rangy and heavy-handed Okolie, 26. Expect the awkward and athletic 2016 Olympian to get the better of Ngabu on points.
Also on the show, explosive Ilford welterweight Conor Benn, 15-0 (10), meets Hungary’s decent and well-travelled Laszlo Toth, 28-5-1 (19), over 10. The energetic Benn, 23, won’t have things all his own way but can outscore his taller 31-year-old foe from Sopron.
The Verdict Neither Chisora or Price can afford a loss.