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Chisora keen to entertain but insists he's no clown

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Ben Dirs | 22:31 UK time, Wednesday, 25 January 2012

For those who might wonder what it is I find so intriguing about boxers, I refer you to the following statement by Dereck Chisora: "When I get a bigger house I'm going to get a double-decker bus. What I'm going to do with it is going to be amazing: I'm going to take the bus and build it inside my house and make that my kids' play room."

Later, Chisora reveals he also plans to convert a 1970s' black cab into a king-size bed. I resist the urge to ask whether he intends to allow passengers to smoke, drink alcohol or consume kebabs in the back. Just imagine it, all that chilli sauce on your sheets.

For a sport so serious on so many levels, boxing has never lost its sense of humour.

Dereck Chisora

Dereck Chisora, born in Zimbabwe, has lost two of his last three fights. Photo: Getty

From former heavyweight world title challenger 'Two Ton' Tony Galento, who did roadwork with a cigar clasped between his teeth, to Muhammad Ali foe Chuck Wepner, who once fought a bear, boxing's tapestry of glory, tragedy and despair has always been interwoven with plenty of barely-credible buffoonery.

"Boxing is an entertainment, I have to entertain people," says Chisora, out of north London via Zimbabwe, who challenges the formidable Vitali Klitschko for the Ukrainian's WBC heavyweight crown in Munich on 18 February.

"You don't want athletes who are as dry as a bone, you don't want to turn your TV on and see someone boring. People want to know what's going on in their life, feel as though they know them. Which is why outside the ring I'm just clowning around."

'Del Boy's' repertoire includes tootling about in his Only Fools and Horses namesake's yellow three-wheeler ("Ricky Hatton's got the fake one, I've got the real one"), entering the ring to the classic sit-com's theme tune and collecting British design classics. He is most animated when discussing his mechanical parking meter: "Yeh, that's right, an old-school one with the handle you turn."

So when a seemingly undercooked Chisora was well-beaten by fellow Brit Tyson Fury last July, there were many who suspected he had been spending too much time on his extra-curricular activities and not enough time putting in the hard yards down the gym.

Chisora refutes this suggestion but admits the two fights-that-never-were with Vitali's younger brother Wladimir - Wladimir cancelled on both occasions, in 2010 and 2011 - perhaps caused him to subconsciously lose focus.

"I thought I'd prepared properly but really and truly I don't know," says Chisora. "Sometimes you think you've prepared and it turns out it's not enough. We thought we were ready but we weren't."

Chisora says the defeat by Fury was "depressing, a big comedown" but that, while the Manchester fighter might have taken his British title and unbeaten record, he did not take his "swagger": "That hasn't gone anywhere," he says. "My swagger never will."

Those reading this who might be worried for Chisora's safety against Vitali might also be relieved to know that, in person, Chisora is very far removed from the undeniably daft alter ego he has created.

Sometimes disinterested (mainly on boxing), sometimes enthusiastic (on utilitarian antiques), when I mention the stick he has recently been serving up to fellow Brit David Haye, Chisora comes over more than a little bit menacing.

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko has never been knocked down in his entire boxing career. Photo: AP

"David Haye likes to undermine me, take me for a punk - saying I'm a bum, a nobody," says the 28-year-old Chisora, who said Haye had made himself into an "embarrassment" and a "laughing stock" in losing to Wladimir last July. "But you know what? It's coming to David Haye. One day I'll catch him, in or out of the ring. I'm going to smack him down."

Against Finland's Robert Helenius in December, Chisora demonstrated he can mix it with the best at European level when his mind is on the job. Chisora was defeated by a split decision in a fight for the vacant European crown, but the consensus of opinion was he was robbed. That said, cynics will point out that being the best at European level does not amount to a hill of beans and is some distance below the lofty perch occupied by the Klitschko brothers.

Chisora, however, is adamant he will give a better account against Vitali than Haye gave against Wladimir. "Anyone who knew their boxing knew Haye didn't stand a chance," says Chisora. "We knew Haye couldn't fight on the front foot, that he only knows how to fight one way. But I take risks every time, I never go backwards. Vitali is going to have to knock me out and, the way my defence is right now, I don't think he can penetrate."

When Chisora pulls out his mobile phone and starts texting mid-question, I realise it is time to change tack and ask him about his other passion again. If Chisora is getting restless and wants to talk parking meters rather than boxing, then that's fine by me. It makes a refreshing change from the common-or-garden "I'm gonna knock his block off".

"I collect all this stuff because we take it for granted," he says. "But in 10 years those things won't be around and we'll have to pay to go and see them in some museum. So I figure I'll make my own museum. I've got an old red post box and I recently bought an old iron phone booth." This time next year, 'Del Boy'. But maybe stick to the boxing.


  • Comment number 1.

    He's making the most of his spotlight and driving a lot of attention for this bout practically single-handed. Fair play to him.

    He's also going to get thrashed within six or seven rounds too, but that's arguably besides the point.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'd love to think that Chisora has even a puncher's chance against Vitali, but realistically - even against a 40 year old man - this is a huge mismatch: a guy who is barely half-proven at European level (credit for the Helenius performance, but it was ultimately a loss against an enormous but limited fighter) against arguably one of the greatest heavyweights there has ever been. I just can't see a way in for Del Boy. He doesn't have the power to stop Klitschko (to be fair, nobody does! His brittle skin, not his granite chin let him down against Lennox Lewis), and whilst Chisora has good boxing skills and moves well for a big lad, there's no way he's going to avoid getting hit for 12 rounds, even against an ageing and slowing opponent (and anyway, he's giving it the big one about 'not taking a backward step' and Haye's 'disgraceful' evasive tactics, so it doesn't look as though he's preparing to be on his bike for the evening!).

    I just hope it doesn't do too much damage to him or his career.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good article Ben, Chisora is a great character because I do not think he takes himself too seriously - which is probably the British Boxing Fans' problems with Haye and Khan.

    Hes in the ring so he has a chance, and especially at heavyweight anything can happen - look at Rahman vs Lennox!!

    But I can't see Vitali not training properly and I think Derek will find it a huge step up from that bum Helenius who Chisora stuffed by 5/6 rounds for me.

    Looking forward to the fight and you just never know....

  • Comment number 4.

    The gulf in class between the two is immense. It's a ridiculous match up, Vitali will knock Chisora out without even breaking sweat.

  • Comment number 5.

    Nice blog Ben, as always. Chisora sounds like a peculiar chap. And somewhat rude, if the mid-question texting is anything to go by. Shame really. Dr Sledgehammer will be sure to hand out a morality lesson.

    Have to say, it saddens me knowing this bout is the best the Heavyweight division can come up with. Why on earth is Chisora even getting this fight? Fury beat him. I think David Price would beat him. David Haye would beat him. So he fights Vitali Klitschko?!

  • Comment number 6.

    I'll watch it as I always do when a British boxer lands a big fight..... unfortunately I cant see Chisora hurting Vitali. Then again 1 punch can change everything.

    I'm looking forward too seeing Price take on Fury now. My money will be on Price!

  • Comment number 7.

    Woman beater. Looking forward to seeing his face when he's out-matched and beaten senseless. What a card!

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh have to agree about Price - heard about him a while back but only saw him over the weekend. Looks to have real skills and ability, and can bang like hell. Think Fury will have no chance, and quite sure he'd be a decent match for anyone else in the division within the next year or so.

  • Comment number 9.

    I do like his optimism, but he hasn't got a snowballs chance in hell against Vitali. But at least he is a bit less annoying than Haye and his pathetic toe.

  • Comment number 10.

    Price will kill Fury in my opinion, Price looks like a chisseled heavyweight Fury is just a huge man with decent ability, he will get found out against anyone with decent skill

    Chisora getting the fight is more about Vitali wanting to get a fighter with similar style to Haye - this is the only reason I can imagine - be it also to taunt haye and annoy him so when he comes back to the table he is desperate and wont ask for much of the purse

    either way vitali beats chisora easily unless by some minor miracle the ghost of Joe Frazier embodies him

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Chisora will lose in 3 or 4 and I don't remember him boxing on the front foot much against Fury

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't hold much hope for Chisora. He's only getting a shot at Vitali because Wlad was going to fight him (as a way to humiliate Haye) and pulled out due to 'injury' (or better offer elsewhere, depending on who you listen to). Basically the Klitschkos and their management already had a deal with Chisora and as one easy win's as good as the next they're honouring it. There's always a puncher's chance but Vitali's been hit by much harder punchers and barely flinched.

    Fury to me looks like a domestic fighter but his name and his heritage will always see him pull a decent crowd. A move to the USA could really build his profile, with the 'Irish' fans there. He could mix it at Euro level or be a contender in years to come (and he's still young) but I don't see him or Chisora making a mark at world level. Having said that, are they much worse than Akinwande or Hide? Both held world titles in a slightly stronger HW pool.

    I know it's slightly off subject but of the 3 named up and coming HW boxers, David Price looks to be the one with the pedigree. He's still untested and it's way too early to make predictions but he was an excellent amateur and has the size and physique to get to the top. Maloney needs to look after him properly and if he fights and beats Fury, maybe go for Chisora. Only after cleaning up domestically should he go up to Euro level (If Helenius hasn't been squished by a Klitschko yet by all means put him on the CV), then build up to world level over 2-3 years. I know boxers and fans don't have the patience of promoters though and I'll probably be calling for it sooner myself! Vitali will likely have retired in 3 years' time and Wlad will be getting on a bit - despite his excellent shape his speed will wane.

  • Comment number 14.

    Chisora is a joke - Haye is right. With his Del Boy persona and stupid Trotters 3 wheeler. Sorry, but what a plonker! How does he expect to be taken seriously as a boxer? Klitschko is going to turn him into a pizza face! He's got no chance. It's going to be embarrasing for him.

  • Comment number 15.

    Give the lad a break here, he has earned his chance and I for one want to see him take it. Price & Fury are getting all the headlines, watch out for the name Richard Towers.

  • Comment number 16.

    glad everyone seems to agree on this one, Chisora is going to get smashed, shows the state of the HW division and even more so the british HWs, saying that Price does look decent, i think he will beat Fury, after that tho im not sure he can touch the K brothers yet, also theres a young amatuer, someone Anthony i think, now he will be a HW champion, after the Olympics he will go pro then watch out!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Anthony Joshua, thats the guy, watch this space trust me..

  • Comment number 18.

    In all likelihood Chisora will be knocked out but it wont be embarrassing, and he will not take a step backwards. He will certainly give a better account of himself than David Haye did. Good luck to him.

  • Comment number 19.

    i watched the vitali lennox fight for the first time... and it was a good fight!!! vitali gave his all in the first rounds but from the third round lewis was in the ascendancy and completely battered vitalys face with his superpower and would have knocked vitaly out in the next few rounds...
    vitaly is the best off a poor era but is a good fighter :)

    oh and lennox won the 6th round but they gave it to vitaly as a moral boost :)

  • Comment number 20.

    As the Klitschko's are often heard saying, many of their opponents talk big before the fight and some come out swinging but by the fourth of fifth rounds their efforts have become completely frustrated. At that stage pretty much all of their recent challengers have gone into survival mode before being stopped in the latter rounds.

    There is nothing remotely insightful in predicting Chirosa is most likely to fall between rounds 9 and 12. I just hope Chirosa does come out swinging and puts on a show on the biggest day in his career. It would be nice to see Vitali made to work hard even if it is only for the first 4 or 5 rounds.

    For all Chirosa's daftness it should be remembered that he hasn't always been an angel outside the ring.

  • Comment number 21.

    It might be all well and good to see Chisora get a chance, but to me it signals just how weak our heavy weight division is. What we have to understand is not the fact that Vitali has given Chisora a Rocky style shot at the world title, but more important this Chisora is representing England in the heavy weight division.

    Haye might be all talk sometimes, but he is our only genuine boxer in this division albeit that Haye is a relatively light heavy weight.

    Can see Chisora getting beat to a pulp.....

  • Comment number 22.

    Please, all the people speculating that Chisora might have a puncher`s chance.....just stop it. What, you mean the same puncher`s dance that Danny Williams had?

    Don`t bother tuning in for the fight - don`t bother forking out for PPV - just go on Youtube and watch Danny Williams`challenge against Vitali, and you`ll have basically seen the Chisora fight before it happens.


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