British heavyweight Dereck Chisora believes this is his time, and that next month in Germany he will finally come of age and rid the division of WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko.
That was Chisora’s clear message to the 40-year-old Ukrainian on Monday when the pair squared up in London, England for a press conference to promote their February 18 showdown in Munich.
Some will say talk is cheap with Chisora, that we have heard it all before and, when it matters most, the Englishman has failed to follow big boasts with big performances. Who can forget, after all, how a thoroughly-overweight Chisora flopped his way to defeat against rising countryman Tyson Fury in July 2011, losing Commonwealth and British belts in the process?
Yet, according to Chisora, that was then and this is now. He promises we will see a very different athlete in six weeks time, one approaching his boxing prime and who, “physically and mentally,” is equipped to pull off an authentic giant-killing act.
Cool, calm and collected, Chisora certainly appeared on top of his game at the start of this week, holding court in fine fashion, and delivering a confident case as to why he can topple the older of the two all-conquering Klitschko brothers. He even felt sufficiently bullish to name the round when he will knock out Vitali, while pleading he does not do a Wladimir and pull out at short notice. Chisora (15-2, 9 knockouts) was twice slated to meet THE RING champion last year until the latter suffered injuries.
“Number eight is my lucky number and Vitali is going down in the eighth round. Now he knows and so does everyone else, “ said the 28-year-old from Finchley, north London. “He just does not know what is coming, I am physically and mentally coming to take what is his and make it mine. I hope he is prepared for that.
“And I have already said to Vitali: ‘I hope you don’t chicken out like your little brother, just make sure you are there’. I just hope you do not come up with excuses, or say there is a problem with this or that. I just want to fight. Everybody is tired of you and your brother, because you do not bring excitement to the game. They have killed the sport I love.
“It is time for the new king, and that will be me come February 18. I have everyone around the world on my side. Most of Europe, fans in America, people in south Africa, even those in the north…”
Having remained motionless throughout, Klitschko suddenly felt obliged to intervene at this point and ask whether he could count on the support of China too?
“They may not have heard of me in China but, after I whoop your ass, then they will, “ Chisora responded, causing much laughter among the mainly UK press. “The time is here. He is the doctor and I am the black plague. Call me the white plague, if you want. Call me whatever. I am coming to destroy him in his own back yard.”
That, of course, will be a lot easier said than done, a fact not lost on Chisora after he was on the wrong end of a controversial split decision in Helsinki, Finland in December. Promoter Frank Warren reckons his man was robbed against undefeated Finnish contender Robert Helenius and that he won their European title bout by at least five rounds. Not that Chisora is complaining. Quite the reverse. In a blatant dig at another Englishman Amir Khan, he dismissed such results on foreign soil as part and parcel of the profession.
“We know boxing is a dodgy sport, that it is the most corrupt sport in the world. Why do I have to do my head in thinking I was wrongly beaten. You jog on and get on with it,” Chisora said.
Before that excellent display, Klitschko (43-2, 40 KOs) might have underestimated the threat of Chisora. However, there is absolutely no chance of that now.
“Everyone I have spoken to says Dereck is the best contender out there. I respect him and I know he will not be an easy opponent. I am treating the fight very seriously. Everyone says that the fights of the Klitschkos are boring. That’s because we win. We need someone who can beat us. I believe Dereck can do that, “ said Klitschko before dismissing the idea that his age could play a decisive factor in the outcome.
“I’m 40 but I feel 25. I am in great condition, great form and have great experience. I don’t want to beat George Foreman’s record but 40 isn’t old. I will show that to everyone.”
Klitschko, under pressure from Chisora, then gave his own prediction for the fight, stating he would drop his mouthy opponent in the sixth, therefore making fears of another potential fix in Germany utterly irrelevant.
Whisper it quietly, for now, but if events at the Landmark Hotel are anything to go by, maybe boxing fans can at last look forward to witnessing a truly competitive and genuinely entertaining heavyweight title contest. Fingers crossed, folks!