Last Thursday’s press conference to announce Whyte/Chisora 2 was a typically entertaining affair yet perhaps lacked the edge that previous one’s involving Derek Chisora have produced. This slightly more respectable atmosphere (both fighters hinted at their respect for each other after their exhilarating clash back in December 2016) was perhaps due to Chisora’s new promoter requesting him to keep things as civil as possible. A month ago nobody in their right mind would have predicted that Chisora’s aforementioned promoter and advisor would be one David Haye. Clearly anything is possible since Donald Trump began sitting ever proudly in a large house in Washington in between frequent eighteen holes and visits from Kanye West.
Instead of trying to throw tables at each other Chisora and Haye shared one without anyone in between to separate them. Indeed, in a strange twist of fate they now share the same corner as ‘War Chisora’ recently signed with Haye’s ever growing business Hayemaker Boxing. Despite it being a move that many are still taking their time to get their head around, it’s one that actually makes some sense when you think where Chisora is at in his career.
After a thrilling (and to many joyous) seventh round KO of Carlos Takam, a fight that Chisora couldn’t really afford to lose if he wanted to keep throwing his name into the hat for fights versus the likes of Whyte. The focus will now surely be on building on the momentum built off of that special victory and David Haye could be the man help Chisora navigate that process. Indeed, Chisora’s new promoter could naturally problem solve the areas that have held him back in recent years, the first being fitness. Haye was renowned for both his general athleticism and strict preparation for fights, something that Chisora has severely lacked at times during his long and increasingly bumpy career. At the age of thirty four, it’s clear that ‘War Chisora’ can’t afford to churn out any more of the disappointing performances that have often derailed previous momentum gained. Now though, with his profile being raised for the right reasons you sense Chisora now finally realises that any more dramatic slips in performance will result in him being nudged off the heavyweight landscape for good. Win or lose versus Whyte, it’s Chisora’s application and attitude towards the fight that will perhaps matter the most. He’s lost in many different ways before in his career, if he does lose this fight you feel he has to lose it right (much like he did in the first battle versus Whyte).
Chisora’s opponent on December 22, Dillian Whyte, has also been progressively shaking off a villain of the piece image since he played the part so well in his notorious 2015 defeat to now superstar Anthony Joshua. That contest first brought Whyte to the wider public’s attention as he was the first man to seriously trouble Joshua despite being brutally knocked out in the seventh. The Jamaican born fighter who resides in Brixton, has come a long way since then though with eight straight victories, the most recent of which was his dramatic points victory over former WBO champ Joseph Parker. Whyte’s willingness to take the Parker fight was questioned by many, citing that it was too risky at that stage of his career, as whoever lost the fight would have a long road back to challenging for world titles and the like. However, Whyte, who was an underdog going into proceedings bullied his opponent for the majority of the fight and despite a last ditch (and very nearly successful) attempt by Parker to stop him Whyte deservedly saw the fight out for a wide points victory.
That summer triumph confirmed to the world that Whyte should be given his shot at ultimate glory on the biggest stage boxing currently has to offer. However, Chisora’s epic victory on the same night in July immediately lead to calls for a much anticipated rematch between the two. Again, many wouldn’t have blamed Whyte for dodging a dangerous opponent like Chisora as with Joshua/Wilder negotiations for an April 13th showdown seemingly going nowhere, it looks as though Whyte ( if he is victorious on December 22) will step in line for his well deserved shot it at all. Now though, ‘after giving the fans what they want’, ‘The Body Snatcher’ is admirably taking another large risk rather than keeping himself out of harm’s way for what would be the fight of his life. Whyte, overlooked for bigger fights for too long, is clearly eager to prove to the world that he will take on all comers and the opportunity to headline a pay per view show once more was clearly too tempting to turn down. In interviews, Whyte often calls out fellow fighters for tactically navigating themselves away from 50/50 type fights so perhaps had no choice but to go back into the trenches with Chisora.
In terms of predictions for the fight itself, it will really depend on which Derek Chisora turns up on the night. If it’s an improvement on the one that controversially lost to Whyte a shade under two years ago then Whyte really will have his hands full. Yet, after that fight Chisora feebly slumped to a points defeat to the relative novice Agit Kabayel in Monaco, a defeat which put his career back on the ropes. Though another huge fight in his hometown, alongside the boost of new management should mean that Chisora leaves it all in the O2 arena ring when the time comes. Dillian Whyte is no doubt a much improved fighter than he was in the first showdown between the two men though, dominating Joseph Parker for long periods, who was a credible world champion until he ran into Anthony Joshua. Though in truth, much like the first fight, pre-fight tactics may melt away in the face of a pistol-less gun fight between the two men. If it does go to the championship rounds once again the greater youth and more varied ring craft of Whyte should see him through. Yet you simply cannot write off Dereck Chisora and of course form can be blown away in an instant in heavyweight boxing. Whoever comes out on top, it would be prudent to get the popcorn ready, all the while being wary of the spurts of blood that might fly out of your TV and sprinkle your snack before the night is out.
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