With his British licence restored, enigmatic Finchley heavyweight Dereck Chisora can finally commence his rebuilding process this Saturday.
The always captivating and charismatic ‘Del Boy’ returns in an international 10 rounder against Argentina’s decent Hector Alfredo Avila.
(Catch the whole ‘Rule Britannia’ show, headlined by Nathan Cleverly’s mandatory WBO light-heavyweight defence against Robin Krasniqi and also featuring Liam Walsh against Scott Harrison, live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions from 7pm Saturday evening, Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546). Join at www.boxnation.com
With prospective assignments against the likes of old adversary Robert Helenius and British champion David Price already being negotiated, the 29 year old Zimbabwe native knows there is no room for slip-ups.
The man commissioned with steering Chisora clear of mischief and moulding his incontestable talent, is Don Charles, the eloquent Nigerian born trainer who has groomed ‘Del Boy’ since he was a raw teenage novice. Last weekend boxing writer Glynn Evans caught up with him.
Camp Chisora was very confident and bullish going into the blockbuster with David Haye at Upton Park last July. On reflection, why didn’t the fight go your way?
I need to be careful how I respond because I certainly don’t want to make any comment that detracts from Mr Haye’s glory.
Dereck needed to be patient. We stressed that throughout our build-up because we knew he’d never faced anyone who was as fast as Mr Haye was likely to be. Dereck knew what he had to do but, unlike David, he didn’t stick to his game plan. He ended up handing the fight on a plate to the other side.
It was our belief that Mr Haye was only good for six rounds. We fully anticipated that he’d storm out and unleash a lot of power shots from the first bell and that’s exactly what he did. Dereck was told to just tuck up while David exploded.
When Dereck stuck to our plan during the first three rounds he performed very well. However, he then started to get fed up and frustrated. He opened up prematurely, before he was given the green light and David was able to pick him off. Dereck lost his composure and David Haye is too intelligent a boxer to be fighting, if you’re not composed.
But Dereck didn’t take a sustained beating. He took a big shot but finished the fight on his feet with just a second left to go in the round. Had he been allowed back to the corner and given a minute to recuperate...who knows?
Were you able to take any positives out of the event?
Positives? We stressed beforehand that it was a must win fight for us so it was a very sore loss. I’m still sore. Sure, Dereck likes to provide the public with entertainment - which he certainly did - but we didn’t go into the Haye fight to ‘do well’. We went in hell bent on winning. The lessons we learnt for our future is the only positive.
Dereck was commendably gracious in defeat when the battle was done. How badly did the defeat affect him privately?
You have to credit Dereck Chisora. I was surprised how well he took the defeat in the ring on the night. He immediately congratulated David on his victory and I’m very proud that he could behave that way. That showed class and portrayed our sport in a positive light after the unsavoury incidents over in Germany.
But I know Dereck very well and privately, trust me, he’s still hurting. He replays the fight in his head and, more that once after training sessions, he’s been lying down on the gym floor saying: ‘I messed up, I messed up.’
He knows he committed a cardinal sin but we can’t dwell on it forever. The fact that Mr Haye hasn’t retired offers us a glimmer of hope for the future. If both keep winning, it’s possible that Dereck might one day get a chance to redeem himself.
Dereck will have been inactive for nine months when he steps inside the ring to resume his career on Saturday evening. Was an extended break essential after the gruelling schedule he’d had in 2011-12?
Absolutely. It was welcomed. But I’ve no regrets about the path we chose to take. The opportunities just kept being offered and you have to seize them. We needed to capitalise on the momentum we were building. It may sound stubborn but I’d not change a thing. We didn’t plan the schedule. It was our destiny.
The ‘fast track’ most definitely accelerated Dereck’s development as a fighter. He only had 22 amateur contests and he’s only had 19 professional fights yet look at the experience, respect and popularity he’s gained. Look at the money he’s earned. How many others have achieved what Dereck Chisora has achieved after only 19 fights?
Of course, he would have fought a month ago had the (Rule Britannia) show not been postponed. But he’s fully refreshed and recharged; ready to fight again.
Dereck has always thrived off his swagger. While there were mitigating circumstances to his three other defeats – overweight v Fury, robbed blind v Helenius, lacking experience against Vitali Klitschko – the reverse to Haye was very conclusive and very personal. Might he have lost some of that ‘rude boy’ that was an integral ingredient behind his success in the ring?
I’m probably one of the closest people to Dereck. Yes, I think the emphatic nature of the defeat possibly humbled him a bit. He’s a very sociable, outgoing person who enjoys meeting people, enjoys being ‘out and about’ so I guess that’s natural. But it only took away about 10% of his swagger and he’s only a couple of wins away from getting it back and returning to the same old Dereck Chisora.
Thankfully common sense prevailed and the British Boxing Board of Control recently re-issued Dereck with his license so he can resume his career.
Were you happy with the hearing and, given that he was punished for his transgressions and has apologised, are you confident you can put the past behind you and progress with a clean slate?
Definitely. I attended the hearing myself and it all went pretty swiftly. The Board highlighted their concerns about Dereck’s past conduct, read him a list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ and expressed a desire to see him back in the ring, doing well. They warned us they don’t want to see him back before them.
Lessons hopefully have been learnt and I thought it was a very productive meeting. I’m extremely pleased that we’re now back under the Board’s wing. I’ve always believed our Board do a very good job.
I’m assuming Dereck’s had a staggered return to training, post Haye. How’s it been managed and what specific issues needed addressing and correcting so that he can succeed if he returns to world level?
First, his mother and myself insisted that he stayed away from the gym for a couple of months. Soon after the fight, he went to South Africa to visit his father and other relatives he’d not seen for a while. That did him good. It kept him away from London, away from the glare.
After about eight or nine weeks, he resumed light training and I have to say he came back hungry and willing to learn. Even if he’d beaten David Haye, we knew there was plenty which needed addressing.
In prep for Saturday, he’s done a lot of sparring with Nathan Cleverly and other British heavyweights and he’s sparred well. He handled the postponement in a professional manner and adjusted his schedule.
Specifically, we’ve been working on Dereck showing more patience and sticking rigidly to our plan. To be fair, he’s usually good at following my instructions but against Mr Haye he got too excited.
As a coach, what will you be looking for from Dereck in his comeback on Saturday night?
He has to win good. For a start, we’ve worked on a plan and I expect Dereck to stick to it and box clever. The Argentine is the fourth opponent that’s been proposed to us. I’ve seen clips of him on You Tube. I’m hoping he’ll come and give us a test, put up a fight for a few rounds, show some resistance. I definitely don’t want someone who comes looking for the floor. That said, we don’t get paid overtime and if a stoppage opportunity presents itself, Dereck will take it.
Provided he comes through, what are your plans for the remainder of 2013? A return with Robert Helenius? A British title challenge to David Price?
Both of those are good names. Personally, I’d prefer Helenius. We’ve already beaten him once but got fleeced so next time we’ll have to make it even more conclusive. I’d prefer not to go to Finland because the ref, as well as the judges, was so biased last time. But Mr Helenius is one of Sauerlands’ top boys and unlikely to travel so if we have to go there again, we will.
I’m very confident. Styles. No disrespect to Mr Helenius but he’s been very carefully matched and doesn’t show much improvement. He’s very one dimensional, can’t alter his style. A fighter who keeps coming at you like Dereck Chisora is his worst nightmare.
I understand David Price has secured a rematch with Tony Thompson for the summer which is fantastic news and we wish him well. I expect him to avenge the loss because he was all over Thompson in the first fight until he made the mistake.
Price-Chisora will have to come later, provided both keep winning. But when it happens, my man wins all day long. They’ve done so much sparring together and I get to observe and analyse. Like Tyson, Dereck has difficulty with opponents his own size but makes a meal of the long, tall guys!
And you’re still confident you can steer him to a world title?
No doubt. I believe it very strongly. With just 19 fights on his CV, Dereck’s barely half way through his journey, his quest to the heavyweight championship of the world. I’m very excited about our future.