Dillian Whyte came out on top of an another engrossing heavyweight battle between two British fighters brave enough to face each other again after their absolute war of a fight two years ago. Saturday’s brawl wasn’t quite as explosive as that classic of December 2016, yet a packed 02 arena in London surely left feeling that they had all given themselves an early Christmas present by being in attendance. As the usual pre-fight hype (and well documented silliness) that often revolves around Derek Chisora fights’ was matched by a enthralling contest that once more showcased how Britain is currently leading the way when it comes to hosting big fight nights for an ever expectant fan base.
The build up to the fight was an interesting thing to behold itself with Dillian Whyte’s confused reaction to weird analogies (well worth a google if you don’t get the reference) along with a much leaner, even meaner ‘War Chisora’ calling on the wisdom of former arch enemy David Haye to give his long career one last kick start. A typically rowdy press conference turned up the heat on the grill even more and with that fight of decade contender from December 2016 still in the back of fans’ minds by the time the first bell rang on Saturday night, there was a thick cloud of anticipation hovering over the 02’s infamous white dome.
The first round started at a good pace before a big right from Whyte looked to unsteady Chisora but surprisingly, Whyte, perhaps with even bigger fights down the line in the back of his mind, decided to take his time rather than steam in for a potential early finish. An approach that typified his measured and consistent performance throughout the entire contest, a tactic that Whyte joked after the fight was difficult to maintain in the face an opponent such as Chisora. The third round, saw some brutal exchanges of blows as Whyte decided to stand and trade with ‘War’ Chisora to the delight of the 02 crowd. Yet in the middle rounds The Bodysnatcher again reverted to a counter-punch orientated approach, allowing Chisora to be a couple rounds ahead on a many a scorecard as the fight passed the halfway stage.
The much improved conditioning and work rate of Chisora was a sight to behold, as he managed to press for longer periods of rounds than in their previous encounter and indeed in rounds six and seven Whyte looked the more weary of the two men. Yet in the eighth Chisora’s previously whipping combos started to have a little less bite and in searching to maintain his dominance in the fight he was deducted a point for a low blow, which in what was such a tight contest seemed to unsteady Chisora’s composure somewhat. Yet in a fight that was extremely tough to call on the cards in real time, both men showed good work in rounds nine and ten as they continued to slug away ,though Whyte, after that mid-fight lull was beginning to provide more of the cleaner work.
The eleventh round, which proved to be the bout’s last, was marred by a controversial second point deduction for Chisora, this time for an innocuous elbow that didn’t seem deliberate by any stretch of the imagination. A visibly dejected Chisora impressively still managed to press the issue but in doing so left himself wide open to the same vicious left hook counter of Whyte that floored Joe Parker and just like that the contest was over. Whyte’s muted celebrations of a win that really should earn him a fight versus one of either Joshua, Wilder or even Fury, showed the respect earned between he and Chisora after twenty three rounds of outrageously gruelling battle. In fact Whyte has since praised the bravery of his opponent, who was up on two of the three judges’ scorecards despite those two deducted points, a real feat for someone who often remarks that he simply wants ‘respect’ from the big boys in the division.
It’s safe to say that Derek Chisora earned that on Saturday night and then some after a great display that was only ended by one of the most devastating punches in the heavyweight landscape. Indeed, his improved punch output and fitness will trouble anyone and despite another high-profile defeat you can’t see ‘War Chisora’ hanging up his gloves just yet. As for Dillian Whyte, as stated above, after three big wins on the bounce, it’s high time he is given his shot at ultimate glory whether it be versus Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua. The latter of whom was at ringside working for Sky Sports, which lead to him explaining to Whyte that if his possible fight with Wilder on April 13th falls through (which seemingly it will) then he would be willing to give Whyte the opportunity that many in the boxing world feels (and the rankings show) he fully deserves.
Crucially, Whyte and Joshua share the same promoter in Eddie Hearn, meaning the ever tiring politics that have halted the negotiating of a Joshua/Wilder fight would not come into play. So much so that you imagine ‘Joshua/Whyte 2’ could be made in days as Joshua has stated that he would be happy to ‘break bread’ with long time rival Whyte on the world stage if it looks like a fight with Wilder is out of reach for that allotted April 13th date. And despite the fact that Joshua would go into a fight with Whyte as a heavy favourite after brutally knocking him out in their street fight type affair three years ago, we should note that a much less experienced and rawer Whyte managed to seriously hurt ‘AJ’ in that fight. Whether Whyte can beat Joshua or not is almost a mute point at this stage, with Deontay Wilder’s team still unwilling to negotiate an historic unification fight then for this writer the only logical next step for both Joshua and Whyte is to face each other, which in any other era other than this crazy one, would be of one the biggest fights in British Boxing history.
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