In February it will be a decade since Derek Chisora’s one and only shot at a world title. It was a wild night in Munich, better remembered for his post-fight brawl with David Haye – where at one moment Haye accidentally hit his own trainer, Adam Booth, over the head with a photographer’s tripod – than Chisora’s gallant effort in defeat against Vitali Klitschko. Haye and Klitschko are long retired, but Chisora keeps going and shows no inclination to stop.
Tonight, in Manchester, Chisora faces Joseph Parker for the second time. They met in May at the same venue, Parker climbing off the floor to claim a split points decision win. There were no fans in the venue that night, but it was shown on Sky Box Office. The rematch is on DAZN, the first fight for their UK subscribers – since Dillian Whyte’s fight with Otto Wallin was scrapped – in the list headed “would have been on pay-per-view” if promoter Eddie Hearn was still at Sky.
“To be a box office fighter, you have to earn it,” Chisora said in an interview with DAZN. “They don’t just give it to you. You have to put bums on seats first, you have to get people to love you.
“They booed me before, but I never cared. It means a lot to me if somebody goes out at 6 o’clock in the morning, he does a big shift, gets an overtime pay and then he goes and bus a £40 ticket to watch me fight.”
A few weeks short of his 38th birthday, Chisora has shown that it is possible to have a very successful and profitable career without winning titles.
Bar a bunch of international, intercontinental and silver belts, the last recognisable title Chisora held was the European heavyweight title, which he beat Edmund Gerber for in 2013. He doesn’t seem to care and neither do the fans. And despite having lost 11 times in his 43 professional fights, Chisora remains box office.
Looking at the world heavyweight scene right now, Chisora-Parker could be written off as second division stuff. After all, neither look likely to get a world title shot any time soon. Parker is high up the rankings with the WBO and IBF, but won’t get his chance before Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte sort out their differences and it might well take an eliminator first. That will be 2023 at least.
Chisora has vaguely talked about wanting to complete trilogies with Whyte and Fury. He’d probably be interested in a return with Haye too, if his former great rival turned manager, and now ex-manager, fancied another comeback. But those seem unlikely in the near future. Chisora, though, normally has a plan. Last year, after he lost to Usyk, he was apparently talking about what was next before he got back to the dressing room.
The Londoner believes he won his last two fights – against Usyk and Parker – but got a raw deal from the judges. After changing trainers to Dave Coldwell, Chisora is likely to back away from all-out attack and instead try to focus on explosive bursts. He says the fight this time will not go to the scorecards. Options might be limited were he to lose three in a row, but knowing Chisora, there will always be some route open to him.
“We’re going to go for a stoppage,” he said. “Boxing is a violent sport. Another man is punching you in the face. It’s a fighting game how we have to say it how it is. We’re going in there to fight.
“Win or lose, there’s always something happening. Boxing is a hard game to leave, even those who leave it come back straight away. For me, there’s no losing option in this fight.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.