DON CHARLES: ‘BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR CHISORA WON’T JUST HAVE WON A WORLD TITLE, HE’LL HAVE SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED IT!’
Sometimes, even among the giants of boxing’s heavyweight division, less can be more.
Finchley enigma Dereck Chisora has certainly reaped the benefits of shifting some surplus timber this year. The streamline version of ‘Del Boy’ is presently in the richest vein of form of his 22 fight, seven year pro career.
Having steamrolled unbeaten Yank Malik Scott in July (RSC6) and bludgeoned Germany’s Edmund Gerber to claim the European title in September (RSC5), the 29 year old north Londoner shall be seeking to showcase his considerable wares to the boxing world on Saturday evening when he makes his maiden defence against tough Czech Ondrej Pala at the Copper Box Arena, east London.
Remaining tickets for the Rock The Box 2 show are available from the Eventim Box Office on 0844 249 1000 or at eventim.co.uk
Glynn Evans caught up with Del Boy’s coach and mentor Don Charles to discuss Chisora’s evolution, both as a person and as a prizefighter.
In what ways specifically has Dereck matured as an individual in the 16 months since his knockout loss to David Haye in July 2012?
Dereck has grown up in all ways but, as you say, he’s a bit older so it’s a natural process. He’s learned from his previous experiences both good and bad, as we all do.
As an individual, I’ve noticed that he’s become more responsible and more courteous. He’s also become more patient.
Inside my gym, Dereck has always trained very, very hard. Application was never a problem. However, recently he’s started to eat like a professional athlete. We’ve always worked with nutritionists but, previously Dereck was a little bit irresponsible.
Because he was a heavyweight and wasn’t required to make weight, ‘Del Boy’ felt his weight management wasn’t that important. He’d be cheating. Now he knows that if he weighs less, his performances will be more effective.
And in what ways has he matured as a fighter since losing to ‘The Hayemaker’?
Every fighter improves and develops with the more experience and quality coaching they receive, and Dereck is no different.
I don’t like to keep labouring the fact but Dereck didn’t box as a school kid and therefore didn’t acquire a lot of the basic fundamentals that other young boxers have instilled into them.
He didn’t lace a glove on until he was 19. Think about a child’s education. If they miss out infant school, junior school, high school and sixth form, it takes them a while to acclimatize to university. Dereck is now approaching a stage where he is ready to graduate.
He’s been constantly practising now for the past eight years and those fundamentals are slowly becoming fused into the more advanced techniques that we’ve had to teach Dereck for him to be competitive at top championship level. Consequently, he’s a more complete all round boxer-fighter. He no longer has to deliberate about techniques to activate them. They flow naturally.
On top of that, his recent weight reduction allows him to move quicker and more efficiently. The fact that he is now the reigning European champion has naturally had a very positive effect on his confidence. He’s certainly matured as a student. Right now, Dereck is in a very good place mentally.
How has preparation gone for Saturday’s fight? What do you know about challenger Ondrej Pala?
Preparation has been good. With each fight, Dereck acquires more experience as a fighter and I acquire more knowledge and experience as a coach. Collectively, we’re a more accomplished outfit.
We’ve had the benefit of preparing at the very highest level in the past, when Dereck fought Vitali Klitschko for the WBC world heavyweight title. Though that was not a success, the experience we derived has proved priceless. We now know what is required to get there.
Regarding Saturday, thank God for the age of ‘You Tube’ and the internet. From that, we’ve been able to ascertain Pala’s record and view a couple of his fights which is all that is required to identify his strengths and weaknesses.
I don’t want to discuss his weaknesses. We’ll hopefully reveal those inside the ring on Saturday night. As regards Pala’s strengths, he’s got good hands and a nice flow about his work. He also seems to have a good boxing brain.
I can assure you that Dereck will not be under prepared. In heavyweight championship boxing, every fighter is a threat and we take every opponent very seriously. Trust me, Dereck has trained as hard for Ondrej Pala as he did for Vitali Klitschko. In boxing, complacency is a killer disease.
What would constitute a good day at the office for Chisora on Saturday?
To execute the game plan we have devised and secure a win by whatever shape or form we can. I can’t disclose too much more without giving away our intentions.
Earlier this month, promoter Frank Warren tendered the winning purse bid for the mandatory British heavyweight title fight between Dereck and reigning champion David Price. As his trainer and mentor, is that a fight that you’d like for Dereck sooner rather than later?
David Price’s name keeps cropping up. Stylistically, I think it would be an excellent fight for Dereck and I’d be very confident of victory. Dereck has usually been at his most effective against the very tall opponents.
But I’m not a promoter. That’s Frank Warren’s department. If Frank deems that it is necessary for Dereck to fight David Price to help us get to a world title then that’s what we will do. Frank has huge experience in this field and I trust his judgement implicitly.
Finally, where would you like to see Dereck by this time next year?
I strongly believe that, by Christmas 2014, Dereck won’t only have won a world title, he’ll have successfully defended it at least once!
Watch the whole ‘Rock the Box II’ card – which also includes Dereck Chisora in a WBO International title defence, Frank Buglioni challenging for the Vacant WBO European Super-Middleweight title, plus the keenly anticipated English welterweight title clash between Penge’s unbeaten Bradley Skeete and former British champion Colin Lynes – live and exclusive on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 7pm on Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch.546. Join at www.boxnation.com
JD SPORTS SIGNS 3-FIGHT DEAL WITH FRANK WARREN & BOXNATION
Leading UK sports fashion retailer JD Sports is partnering with boxing promoter Frank Warren and the UK's first and only dedicated subscription boxing channel, BoxNation, in a 3-fight deal.
JD will be title sponsor of the promoter's three big arena events in November and December which will also be screened live on The Channel of Champions, BoxNation.
The first of the three fights takes place on 30th November at the Copper Box Arena in London where Dereck Chisora takes on Ondrej Pala for The European Heavyweight Title. The following week will see Paul Butler and Ruben Montoya compete for the WBO & WBA Intercontinental Super Flyweight title at The Echo Arena in Liverpool on 7th December. The third fight, a Dennis Hobson Promoted event run in association with Frank Warren's Queensberry Promotions, will take place on 21st December at the Leeds Arena and will see Stuart Hall take on Vusi Malinga for the IBF World Bantamweight Title whilst Frankie Gavin will battle it out with Joseph Lamptey for the Commonwealth Welterweight Championship.
Commenting on the association, JD Group Marketing Director Stephen White said "This is an exciting partnership for JD, these are three big events on the boxing calendar and we are pleased to support them. It's great to see Frank Warren and BoxNation showcasing the UK's home grown talent to the masses and we look forward to working closely with Frank and his team to enhance the boxing fan's, and our customers', experience."
In addition to a strong JD presence at each of the events, the partnership will open up opportunities for JD customers, including chances to win tickets for the fights, signed merchandise, boxer appearances and 'money can't buy' prizes. JD customers will also receive a special offer on subscriptions to BoxNation.
Frank Warren says: "A partnership such as this underlines the appeal of boxing to the sports fan and we are delighted to have the support of such an aspirational brand like JD on board. Support like this allows us to continue the investment in our great boxing talent which will help the sport and the boxers continue to flourish."
This announcement comes as a further boost to the group's sporting influence having recently increased its performance offering with the launch of jdpro.co.uk to showcase the best performance gear from brands including Nike, adidas, Asics and Under Armour.
As an established sport and lifestyle brand JD has been linked with many sports and music related brands over the years. The Bury based company has also just announced sponsorship of Gigg Lane, home of Bury F.C., which will now be named the JD Stadium.
INTRODUCING SCOTTISH HEAVYWEIGHT SENSATION GARY “THE HIGHLAND STING” CORNISH!
Rising Scottish heavyweight star Gary “The Highland Sting” Cornish is eager to prove he’s the real deal by become the country’s first ever world champion.
Despite nominal amateur breeding, the 6ft 7in ‘Highlander’ has quietly amalgamated 16 wins as a professional, with eight victims – including the last four – being sent for an early shower.
London fans can take another look at the 26 year old joiner tomorrow when he collides with Croatia’s former K1 fighter Ivica Perkovic over six rounds this Saturday at the Copper Box Arena.
Remaining tickets for the Rock The Box 2 show are available from the Eventim Box Office on 0844 249 1000 or at eventim.co.uk
Name: Gary Cornish
Family background: I’ve a younger sister and three older brothers. Two are a similar size to what I am – one’s a wee bit shorter. None of the other brothers boxed but I believe an uncle boxed in the army. I live in Inverness and I’ve got two sons, aged six and three.
Trade: I’ve been a joiner for ten years, since I left school.
Nickname: ‘Highlander’. Inverness is the capital of the Scottish Highlands.
What age did you become interested in boxing and why? My older brothers always picked on me so I had to become a scrapper by necessity. Things have changed around a bit now, mind!
That said, I was quite a late starter to boxing. As a youngster I was far more into my football and I played centre forward at quite a good level. I only started going to the boxing gym around the age of 18 or 19 to get fitter for the football but the coach there suggested I had a spar and I just loved it.
What do you recall of your amateur career? It was frustrating because, due to my size, I really struggled to get fights and I had hardly any sparring. In four years, I had just nine bouts. I won them all, five by stoppage.
I represented the Inverness City ABC and was coached by Laurie Redfern. I had my first contest at 19 or 20 and I went on to win the Scottish ABA super-heavyweight title. That was probably the highlight of my amateur career.
I also boxed for a Scottish Select side against an English Select side at a town hall in London. I stopped a boy called Daniel in about 40 seconds, my quickest kayo.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? I was really struggling to get amateur bouts and the next Commonwealth Games were still three years away. I went down to London to spar Dereck Chisora and I thought I did alright so that sort of helped make my mind up for me.
Tell us about your back up team: From day one as a pro, I’ve been managed and promoted by Tommy Gilmour and I’m trained by Paul Geddes. Apparently Paul was the first ever Scottish ABA super-heavyweight champion from Inverness. He gives me an awful lot of time and dedication. He looks after my boxing, strength and conditioning, nutrition and diet. The lot.
What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I train at the Gym 300 in Inverness and I tend to be training all the time.
However, when we get a fight date, I set an eight week program and I’ll train six days a week. Because I continue to work as a joiner right up until my fights, I usually arrive at the gym at 6.30 in the morning. My program usually revolves around explosive movements. I do a lot of different weight and strength exercises. Paul mixes things up pretty well. I train very hard and do a lot of pad work. I do my running in the evening, after work.
My favourite part of training would be the sparring but unfortunately there’s really no one up in Scotland for me to spar. When I’ve the time, I’ll travel down to England I’ve done sessions with Dereck Chisora, David Price, Audley Harrison and Danny Hughes. However, for several of my fights I’ve not throw a single punch in the gym.
The worst thing about training would be the hill sprints. We’ve some killer hills here in Inverness!
Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I like to work off my jab and use my advantages, like all tall fighters. I think I’m fast on my feet for a big guy and I’ve also got quite fast hands compared to the others in my division.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? I need to acquire more experience, both in fights and through sparring. Inverness is 140 miles north of Glasgow so we’re pretty isolated. I usually have to go down to England or even overseas to get decent work. I’ve probably only had four or five proper spars in my life!
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? The pace of the amateurs was more flat out. In the pros, you need to relax more because the fights are over longer periods. I learned that from sparring with Chisora.
Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? It’s a toss up between Dereck (Chisora) and David Price. I’ve sparred with both. They’re both very good but for different reasons. Dereck has very good movement, cuts the ring off well and really makes you work. David has lots of power.
I wouldn’t like to be pushed on who I think would win were they to meet but it would be a very good fight.
All time favourite fighter: It’s between Lennox Lewis and the Klitschko brothers. All really put the training in, serve their time in the gym.
All time favourite fight: Lenox Lewis against Vitali Klitschko. Lennox was getting beat that night.
Which current match would you most like to see made? It’ll never happen but I’d love to see Wladimir fight Vitali (Klitschko). I think Wladimir would probably win. He’s a lot more cautious, gives nothing away. He’s very hard to land on.
What is your routine on fight day? I wake up when I wake up. I don’t set alarms. Then I may go out for a wee run because I like to train right up to the fight, keep active.
I usually have a porridge for breakfast and I’ll ensure that I keep hydrated right through the day. For lunch, I’ll have eggs and chicken. I might go for a walk in the afternoon.
I try not to think too much about the fight until I get to the changing rooms. I stay pretty calm. My coach always says that he gets more nervous than I do.
Entrance music: Usually it’s ‘Can’t Stop’ by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, same as the Klitschkos.
What are your ambitions as a boxer? Just to keep this unbeaten record going for as long as I can and hopefully some titles might come my way. I’d love to be the first Scot to challenge for, and hopefully win, the British heavyweight title.
How do you relax? Simple stuff. I watch football or play pool and stuff with my mates at the pub. Even when I don’t have a fight arranged, I still like to train. It’s my life.
Football team: Celtic. I used to go quite a bit but seldom get the time now. From the English Premier League, I like Arsenal.
Read: I’m not an avid reader. The other week I bought my first book, Alex Fergusson’s autobiography, which is quite a good read.
Music: I like dance music.
Films/TV: I like lots of films. I always watch ‘Braveheart’ in the week leading up to my fights. On TV, I watch Friends, Big Bang Theory and the football but generally don’t have much time for tele.
Aspiration in life: To go as far as I possibly can in boxing. For my family to stay healthy and just to lead a good life.
Motto: Train hard. Fight easy.
Tommy Gilmour MBE is the undisputed Godfather of Scottish boxing. First licensed at the age of 18, the 60 year old Glaswegian promoter-manager has groomed scores of champions over the past four decades, navigating Pat Clinton and Paul Weir to world titles.
However, the dapper don has never been involved with a heavyweight of renown. He hopes Gary Cornish can break that duck.
“Gary Cornish was brought to me about three years ago by his amateur trainer, Laurie Redfern who, as a boxer himself, fought several lads looked after by my dad (Tommy Snr).
The big man (Cornish) had only had nine amateur fights and I think Laurie recognised that one of the very few virtues that I might have is patience. We both acknowledged that Gary had very limited experience so he couldn’t be just thrown to the wolves.
Laurie trusted that I could steer the boy through the ranks slowly; invest time, effort and money into him. You don’t get to play for Manchester United when you’ve only played nine football matches in your life.
At first sighting, two things impressed me about Gary. Firstly, there was the cut of the boy. He was 6ft 7in tall and weighed 17 stone yet looked like an athlete. He wasn’t a fat lazy lump like too many of the young heavyweights coming through these days. That suggested to me that Gary was keen to give boxing his best go. Secondly, I liked his natural speed and agility for such a big man.
Turning professional, fighting the giants, was a huge, huge step up for him. He was always very much a work in progress. However, when we’d identify his mistakes in each pro fight, he’d work extremely hard in the gym to eliminate them before his next outing. You could see him constantly progressing.
Gary would also put himself out to travel wherever, England or overseas, to secure some quality sparring. To an extent, he’s put his life on hold to serve his apprenticeship as a fighter. More so than any other weight category, heavyweights take many years to mature and Gary has the enthusiasm required to be a success.
Over the last two and a half years we’ve crammed in 16 professional fights. We’ve brought him tall ones, short ones, fat ones, southpaws, swingers and Gary’s found a way to beat all of them. In a recent fight at the York Hall he got caught smack bang on the chin (by Portugal’s Humberto Evora) yet he got up and went on to win the fight by stoppage. So there’s absolutely no question about whether he has the ‘bottle’.
On a personal level, he’s quite a quiet man but I get along very well with him. If I had one criticism of his make up as a fighter it’s that he’s a bit too laid back.
I like to think I’ve achieved a lot during my life in boxing but Scotland has never had a heavyweight of any renown. The only one who came close to fighting for the British title was Dundee’s Ken Shaw, who got beat (on a first round stoppage) by Freddie Mills in a final eliminator down in Haringey in 1948. Ken was one of my dad’s fighters but he weighed barely 13 stone. Steering a Scottish fighter to a British heavyweight title fight would be another wee bit of history for myself.
Saturday’s fight will be Gary’s sixth of 2013 and we’re confident he can bring his year to a good end with a sixth win. After the New Year, we’ll definitely start moving him and by this time next year I’m confident that Gary Cornish will be fighting 12 round championship fights. He’s certainly capable of getting to European title level, at least.”
Watch the whole ‘Rock the Box II’ card – which also includes Dereck Chisora in a WBO International title defence, Frank Buglioni challenging for the Vacant WBO European Super-Middleweight title, plus the keenly anticipated English welterweight title clash between Penge’s unbeaten Bradley Skeete and former British champion Colin Lynes – live and exclusive on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 7pm on Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch.546. Join at www.boxnation.com Tags: British Boxing , Frank Warren , Dereck Chisora