Tyson Fury handed out a brutal beating to Derek Chisora as he battered his old rival around the ring before it was finally stopped in the tenth round.
Chisora gave what Chisora gives – exceptional toughness and bravery. But this was uncomfortable watching at times as Fury teed off on an opponent who would just not quit and not go down.
Almost exactly eight years ago was their last meeting, which was brutally one-sided, Chisora eventually being pulled out after ten rounds by his trainer Don Charles. Eight years on, Fury finished the job nine seconds quicker.
From the second round onwards, there had been no doubt how this would end, it was just a matter of how much punishment Chisora could take. The answer was a lot. It was not a great masterclass by Fury, neither was it a particularly exciting fight. But Fury just had Chisora’s number. He never really looked like he had to work too hard.
“I needed some rounds but I felt good in there,” Fury said. “Take nothing away from Derek “War” Chisora, he’s a real warrior and it was a privilege to fight him three times, he is a British boxing folk hero.”
Fury said before that he didn’t believe Chisora had improved since their last meeting, but Fury certainly has. Most trilogies are made on public demand, not this one.
What was more worrying was that in his past two fights – and after years of hard wars – Chisora was showing signs that his punch resistance was on the wane. A year ago, Joseph Parker knocked him down three times and hurt him repeatedly. In his narrow win in the summer over Kubrat Pulev, he was again rocked several times.
But Chisora had name recognition with a wider crowd than boxing purists and the sight of the 64,000-seater Tottenham Hotspur Stadium looking packed on a night that could generously be called chilly was one to behold. The idea of an outdoor fight in the UK in December seems the craziest aspect of this night.
Chisora had pinned hopes on Fury sticking by a handshake agreement that they would both stand in the middle of the ring to slug it out, not even stepping back to their corners after the instructions from referee Victor Loughlin.
As it was Loughlin made both retreat and Fury came out jabbing, Chisora came forward with menace, winging in shots, with one huge right missing wildly. When Fury got space he started landing uppercuts as Chisora ducked low and a straight left-right landed absolutely clean. Chisora had a slight look of bemusement as he walked back to his corner at the end of the round.
Early in the second, Chisora threw an overhand right that did land, although two stiff jabs seemed to knock him off balance. Chisora did manage to get close and the pair grappled. Then Fury landed a body shot and a clubbing hook, followed by a big uppercut.
Then another hook that turned Chisora around. Suddenly Chisora was trapped in a corner and couldn’t get out. Hooks and uppercuts hurt Chisora but he withstood it.
Early in the third Chisora was rocked and back in a corner. It was now looking uncomfortable as Chisora seemed unable to stop Fury landing big punches. By sheer effort, Chisora came out of the corner and tried to land a big hook, but his legs were still unsteady. As the two held in Fury fell right on top of Chisora as they crashed to the canvas, Somehow Chisora saw out another round.
Chisora came forward at the start of the fourth, landing to the body while Fury backed away. Then he landed a right over the top, which had little impact on Fury. Chisora kept coming forward and Fury looked content to let him, although he took control again in the final minute.
Fury went southpaw in the fifth round, Chisora then followed him briefly. But Fury was just breaking Chisora down and when the Londoner missed with a left hand he tottered backwards into the corner with little control of his legs.
Early in the sixth, Fury landed a left uppercut and then a quick left-right. Fury was not throwing much, but he was loading up now, hooks, uppercuts, all finding the target and Chisora looked unsteady.
Chisora put a lot of effort into an attack at the start of the seventh round. Up close he seemed to be outworking Fury, but when Fury landed a right cross, Chisora was sent back to the ropes. Then Fury landed another uppercut and a sickening-sounding left hook.
To add to Chisora’s problems, his right eye was now closing fast. In the eighth the two slugged it out in center ring, but when Fury landed an uppercut, Chisora was back in a corner, taking heavy punches. Two hard rights landed, as well as a pair of heavy uppercuts. A left near the bell staggered Chisora yet again.
The ninth was another brutal round as Chisora took punch after punch. Referee Loughlin had the look of a man wanting to stop it, but he kept fighting on, staggered by another big uppercut.
Loughlin stayed in the corner with Chisora, speaking to his trainer Don Charles. But Chisora came out again, seemingly at his own insistence. He tried to find a bomb to unsettle Fury, but Fury was just teeing off on him. As the ten-second warning came at the end of the tenth round, Loughlin waved it off. Amazingly, many fans booed – Chisora had given everything, but not enough for some.
But they were sent home happy, as Oleksandr Usyk climbed up to ringside, where Fury called him “a rabbit” and shouted in his face for two minutes. Joe Joyce then came up too, with Fury promising him a Wembley showdown. That will be the lasting memory for many.
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.