Nine years ago, after Derek Chisora had his one and only world heavyweight title shot, he walked into the press conference in a dressing gown and began by thanking God that no one was hurt. He ended that press conference by promising to shoot David Haye. Nearly a decade later, chaos can still follow him around.
Chisora has given up on the hope of ever becoming world champion, but he knows there is money to be made in boxing. Chisora has a good product. On form he’s an exciting fighter, and has become something of an anti-hero – a “character” as they like to put it.
Chisora was at it again on Friday, threatening to walk out on his fight with Joseph Parker in Manchester after losing a coin toss, which meant he had to walk out first against the former WBO champion. It was easy to write-off as an empty bit of publicity. but it was somewhat underminded by the decision of Sky Sports, the broadcaster, to join a football-led boycott of social media this weekend. If some people were desperate for an update of whether the fight was on or off, updates were thin on the ground.
Compared to previous Chisora controversies, this was small beer. It was also in Manchester that he once threw a table at Dillian Whyte. Early in his career he bit an opponent in the ring, but no one will readily forget the events in Munich around his WBC heavyweight title challenge, when he slapped Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in, spat at Wladimir Klitschko in the ring and had a wild brawl with Haye at the post fight press conference. Haye, who that night tried to smash a camera tripod over Chisora’s head, in now, of course, his manager.
“You should enjoy us while we’re here,” Chisora said. “Write good stuff because when we’re all gone, I don’t see too many big characters coming after me, apart from maybe Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, who can give you the headlines you like.
“This is the problem with you guys, I think you should change the way you write because you want to write about somebody, but at the same time you want to write us off.”
There is not the sense of menace around Chisora these days, although he still has a bit of an edge about him. But while Parker hopes a win will put him back in line foe a world title shot, Chisora does not seen bothered.
“Let's all be honest, you should ask Dillian if he wants a world title shot because he's been waiting five years,” Chisora said. “I don't want a world title shot to be honest, I just want to fight. To put myself in those positions it means I have to be begging, saying ‘please let me have this’. And no, I don't want to beg.
“If you have a mandatory you have to fight another mandatory to prove yourself as a top mandatory, then if you beat that guy you fight another mandatory. So it's round and round and round we go. Instead, I am making boxing work for me. I won't say 'oh please give me a shot at the world title'... no, I'll do it my way.”
Chisora has been written off many times before. Nine years ago, when he was knocked out by Haye at Upton Park, his career seemed on the slide. There have been plenty of hard fights since.
It is almost incredible that he is headlining a pay-per-view show, especially considering he has done it twice before – against Whyte and Oleksandr Usyk – and lost them both.
At 37, even he must know that time is now limited. A defeat to Parker and it will be difficult to see many big fights he could have. When the end does come, Chisora says he will not be looking back.
“When I retire, I’m going to have a bonfire in my house, burn all my gloves, everything I won as an amateur,” Chisora said.
“Sometimes boxing doesn’t look after their own so for me to hold onto boxing as much as others do, I won’t.
“If I ever retire, I will have a big bonfire, put it on my Instagram and delete my account after that.”
No, I don’t believe him either.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.