By Chris Williamson, photos by Lawrence Lustig
O2 Arena, London - Dereck Chisora won a sensational heavyweight shoot out with an eighth round knockout of fellow former heavyweight title challenger Carlos Takam to win the WBA international title.
Chisora has been here before of course and tonight’s bout - chief support to Whyte vs Parker - had a “loser leaves town” feel to it with the Finchley man having lost three of his previous six - to Kubrat Pulev, Dillian Whyte and Agit Kabayel - while the three fighters beaten all well below championship class.
The Frenchman Takam, coming off a brave challenge to Anthony Joshua last October (tenth round TKO loss) forced almost the entire opener to be fought in Chisora’s corner, bullying the Finchley man and landing heavy uppercuts and hooks.
The second session was more evenly fought as Chisora found some rhythm and each man hurt the other with short hooks and uppercuts.
More boxing was on show in the third as first Chisora and then Taken utilised their jabs and Chisora was warned by referee Howard Foster for low blows, but it wasn’t long before hostilities resumed as a breathless pace in the fourth saw Takam again pressing Chisora to the ropes, with ‘Del Boy’ countering with huge hooks.
A left hook from Chisora drew a shrug from Takam as the pattern in the fifth with Takam the more offensive fighter and Chisora against the ropes finding leverage for swinging counter hooks. There was no quit in either man during a pulsating contest.
Somehow the heat turned up even more in the sixth as the two took turns to land and continued after the bell. Takam clearly felt he was establishing his superiority, saluting to the crowd at the end of the seventh.
It wasn’t to be for the visitor as in the first minute of the eighth Chisora landed a swinging right hook to the top of Takam’s head, flooring the tough Frenchman. Takam bravely beat the count but Chisora smelled blood, feinting with the left jab before detonating a final sensational right to the chin to leave Takam flat on his back, referee Foster waving the fight off immediately.
“It was tough,’ said Chisora afterwards with some understatement. It was a fight of the year contender and Chisora has sensationally saved his career at this level.