Tyson Fury heads into his third defence of the WBC heavyweight title under more scrutiny for his choice of opponent than at any other time in his championship career. The self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” will square off against Derek Chisora — a fighter he’s defeated twice before — in front of an estimated crowd of 65,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
The boxing community at large views the bout as a mismatch. Fury outpointed Chisora in 2011; stopped him in 2014, and the unbeaten champion is an even better fighter now. He’s also younger, heavier, taller, rangier, quicker, and far more skilled than his opponent.
Understandably, Fury vs. Chisora 3 did not top any fight fan’s 2022 wish list.
But the negativity surrounding the matchup is also a reflection of Fury’s super fight with Anthony Joshua falling through yet again. Fury, however, feels that Chisora should be respected for his fighting heart and punching power.
History suggests Derek Chisora can beat Tyson Fury
And for his part, Fury understands that Chisora himself is capable of shocking the world.
“Chisora is more than capable of knocking anyone out in this game and we’ve seen that down the years,” Fury told The Sporting News. “Derek is very good at getting close to fighters, working the body, and swinging right hands over the top.
“Derek Chisora has the same chance that the rest of these heavyweights have against me. They’ve all got a puncher’s chance. And as we seen when Oliver McCall knocked out Lennox [Lewis], it wasn’t the fact that he was more talented, it was just the fact that he landed an overhand right and chinned him.”November 28, 2022
Chisora can whack, so he's always dangerous. And, in fairness, how many times have we seen a hapless challenger who couldn’t break an egg? Joe Louis versus Jack Roper. Muhammad Ali versus Jean Pierre Coopman. Larry Holmes versus Lucien Rodriguez. None of those guys could even punch compared to Chisora, and they’d accomplished nothing at the world level.
Roper had a record of 64-40-11 when he challenged Louis for the title.
Coopman had fought outside of Belgium only once in his career, and rumours swirled that he drank champagne between rounds when he faced “The Greatest.”
And before Rodriguez took on Holmes, two of the challenger’s signature wins had come against – you guessed it – Coopman.
The difference between these fights and Fury-Chisora 3 is that none of them carried a PPV price tag (£26.95 on BT Box Office in the U.K.). With more than a little justification, hardcore fight fans lost their collective minds when the Fury-Chisora 3 pricing info was released. However, be of no illusion, whether you love him or hate him, this is the Tyson Fury show and he’s a pay-per-view fighter. It’s supply and demand.
Promoter Don King charged U.S. fans $50 a pop for Mike Tyson to fight no-hoper Peter McNeeley on PPV in 1995. King’s hall of fame counterpart Bob Arum charged a similar fee to see Oscar De La Hoya pick at the bones of fading ex-champ Yori Boy Campas in 2003. Why? Because they could.
And the reality is that Chisora is almost a cult icon in British boxing circles and he has a massive fanbase. While the fighter known as “War” has lost seven of his last 15 fights, four of those setbacks have come via split or majority decision. Chisora is also coming off a revenge win over Kubrat Pulev and, not so long ago, he pushed reigning unified champion, and pound-for-pound number one, Oleksandr Usyk to the limit in a decision loss.
“We talk of Usyk being a small guy, but he’s 6-foot-3, and 16 stone,” Fury said. “He’s literally as big, if not bigger, than George Foreman (1970s version) back in the day. Derek was just on him; he used his weight, used his size, and didn’t give him any respect. That’s why he was able to take Usyk right to the wire.
“I think Derek gives everyone a good fight. He’s lost to me, he's lost to [Vitali] Klitschko, he’s lost to [David] Haye, he’s lost to Dillian Whyte, but whoever he’s lost to, it’s always been a very competitive fight. Apart from the second one with me – that wasn’t very competitive.”
Julian Finney/ Getty Images
It's the second fight — when Fury boxed exclusively out of the southpaw stance en route to a dominant 10th-round stoppage — that remains fresh in the mind. Chisora has picked up some respectable wins since that time, but he literally looked like he didn’t belong in the same ring that night.
Will Tyson Fury retire again after fight vs. Derek Chisora?
Fury fans will always back their hero, whereas detractors point to mega-fights falling through (not always Fury’s fault) and persistent retirements as reasons for their vitriol.
“I really meant retirement,” Fury insisted. “I had a documentary being filmed, I was writing my third book, I was recording a single. I had a lot going on, but I was still unfulfilled; none of that was making me happy. I need to fight. The training’s not enough, and until something changes in my heart, mind, and soul — I don’t think I can let it go.
“This is why all the great fighters in history have all had the same trouble. It’s just history repeating. It’s so hard to walk away, and when there’s no glitz, glamour, and fights, you suddenly go from being this elite-level athlete to a normal person. And I’m anything but normal – I’ve never been normal.”
If Chisora were to defeat Fury, it would be one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight championship history. Perhaps only Buster Douglas’ near-miraculous 10th-round knockout triumph over Mike Tyson, in February 1990, would be considered bigger. However, prior to Tyson’s first pro defeat, it’s well known that he took his eye off the ball in training.
Will “The Gypsy King” make the same mistake?
“I’m not in the habit of cutting corners,” said Fury immediately. “I’ll have done nine weeks in training camp for Derek Chisora and that’s a lot for anybody. (Trainer) Sugar Hill has been here for six weeks, working on technique and handling sparring, so I’ve done everything right for this fight. I couldn’t have done any more.
“I’ll be putting on a show and Derek Chisora is the type of opponent that will force that out of me. He’s right there and he’s going to force me to knock him out.”