By Jake Donovan
At the top of the Christmas wish list to Santa Claus for Dereck Chisora was a world title fight against either of the Klitschko brothers at some point in 2014. For now, he’s content to settle for what he views as a knockoff version.
The resurgent heavyweight contender enters the New Year as a calmer, more focused fighter in pursuit of championship glory. His first fight on the year has been set for February 15, and now comes with a confirmed opponent. Chisora will square off versus Andriy Rudenko, an unbeaten prospect from the Ukraine.
New Year everyone and let this be the year that I get an opportunity at the
world heavyweight title and bring it back to Britain,” said Chisora. “Rudenko is a great start to the year for
me, he’s a strong, powerful and undefeated challenger who’s got his own
ambitions for the world title and will be coming over here to knock me out.”
The bout, which airs on UK’s live from Copper Box Arena in London, marks the first time Rudenko (24-0, 16KO) fights outside of Ukraine. His home country and last name ending in ‘-ko’ are all that the 6’0½” heavyweight has in common with the Klitschko brothers, but Chisora opts to view the forthcoming challenge in a different light
“I couldn’t get to the Klitschko brothers, they didn’t want to know about me,” Chisora (19-4, 13KO) claims. “Vitali retired and vacated the title, but good luck to him and his political ambitions. I gave him a hard twelve rounds when we met and next time round he wouldn’t have come away with the title.
“Wladimir looks like he’ll be around for a little while longer and I’ve got unfinished business to settle with him so I want to get to him and finish him off. So for now I’m facing the Klitschko clone in Rudenko. This man can punch, he’s gone the last five years knocking everybody out apart from one, but he’s not carrying on with that run against me.”
Chisora’s bout with the elder Klitschko landed the once brash Brit in hot water. His pre-fight antics included slapping the then-heavyweight titlist across the face during their staredown following the weigh-in.
The incident came at the cost of a $50,000 fine, though didn’t prevent him from spitting water at lineal champion Wladimir Klitschko – at ringside in support of Vitali – on his way to the ring on fight night. Nor did it restrain him from engaging in his infamous brawl with David Haye during the post-fight press conference, which earned him an indefinite suspension.
Chisora still went on to face Haye, though without the blessing of the British Board of Boxing Control. Their July ’12 bout was fought under the auspices of the Luxemborg Boxing Federation, with Chisora suffering a 5 th round knockout and his fourth loss in a span of five fights.
Reformation came about in 2013, with Chisora winning four times in as many fights on the year. Included among the lot was a 6 th round stoppage of then-unbeaten Malik Scott, with its ending causing widespread debate over the protocol for issued ten counts. Nevertheless, the win held up, with Chisora showing no signs of slowing down as he continues to seek out competition that will force him to raise his game.
“The threat level goes up and so does my performance,” Chisora says of his upcoming bout with Rudenko. “I’ll be at my sharpest against him and you’ll see another destruction job from me. I’m at an ideal fighting weight, the flow of punches and power are coming together, the 2014 Dereck Chisora is going to be a real force to be reckoned with.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox