Friday, November 28, 2014

Fury-Chisora II: Who Will Earn A Title Shot Against Wladimir Klitschko?

When Heavyweight contenders Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora met in July 2011 it was to determine the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight championships. At the time both Fury and Chisora were both rising prospects in the Heavyweight division.

 For the first six rounds of the contest both fighters had their share of moments. Fury using his 6’9 frame to keep the 6’1 ½ Chisora on the outside, using his jab to set off combinations. Chisora looking to apply pressure by pushing the bigger man back. Although Chisora threw wide punches, he did have periodic success in landing left hooks and overhand rights. As the fight progressed however, it was Fury’s combination punching and overall greater activity that would win him the fight via a clear twelve round unanimous decision.

Even though the encounter between the two prospects was for the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight titles, the fight did establish both fighters as players in the Heavyweight division as Chisora would go on to challenge Vitali Klitschko for the WBC world championship in February 2012 putting forth a “Game” effort in defeat against one of the two most dominant Heavyweights of this era. Despite suffering losses to Fury, Klitschko, two-division world champion David Haye, and a highly controversial loss to undefeated contender Robert Helenius, Chisora has established himself as a legitimate contender in the Heavyweight division. Since suffering a fifth round knockout loss at the hands of David Haye in July 2012 Chisora has won five straight fights, winning four of those fights by knockout including victories over Malik Scott, Ordrej Pala, and in his last fight former world title challenger Kevin Johnson.

As the encounter between Chisora and Fury established Chisora as a player in the division, so too it did for the undefeated Tyson Fury. Fury has remained unbeaten in the years since his encounter with Chisora winning seven fights and scoring six knockouts against the likes of Vinny Maddalone, Martin Rogan, and former Cruiserweight world champion Steve Cunningham  just to name a few. 

When the two Heavyweights last fought as co-headliners as part of a twinbill at the Copper Box Arena in London, England in February of this year, it was clear that the path to a shot at a world Heavyweight championship for both Fury and Chisora would lead through each other as Fury scored a fourth round knockout over a “Game”, but over matched Joey Abell. Chisora would follow Fury by scoring a one-sided twelve round unanimous decision over Kevin Johnson. 

Following that card earlier this year, this observer stated that a rematch between Fury and Chisora was the logical option for both fighters. The rematch, which was scheduled to take place in July was postponed when Chisora fractured his left hand in his last sparring session prior to the fight taking place. When Fury and Chisora finally meet on Saturday night at the Excel Arena in London, England it will not be just for bragging rights or the European and British Heavyweight titles that will be on the line, but what is also at stake will be the right to challenge unified IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) ratings.

From a stylistic standpoint this fight could be expected to be fought in much of the same way as the first fight was fought between Fury and Chisora. Fury looking to keep Chisora on the outside using his height and 85” reach to his advantage, Chisora looking to close distance and get on the inside of the bigger man. The question that I have in my mind as this fight approaches is whether or not Chisora will be able to let his hands go more consistently this time.

Although Chisora, who weighed 261lbs. for the first fight against Fury was able to have success early in the fight landing power punches, an argument can be made that as the fight went on Chisora’s weight gradually worked against him as he became inconsistent in letting his hands go. It will be interesting to see if Chisora, who weighed 241 ½lbs. at the weigh-in for the rematch with Fury on Friday will be able to have more success in this second encounter. In contrast to Chisora, Fury who weighed in at 264lbs. for the rematch will be looking to use that weight to his advantage by tying the shorter man up and making him unable to let his hands go if Chisora is able to get on the inside as was the case in the first fight.

As was the case the first time around when these two fought, the rematch is a highly anticipated grudge match between two fighters who dislike each other. While this might mean that the two will engage in an entertaining slugfest as some anticipated prior to their first fight, it would not shock me if the rematch like its predecessor goes the distance. Both fighters are known for their punching power and ability to end fights quickly. It is important to remember however, that for both fighters a shot at a world Heavyweight championship is what awaits the winner. The stakes are indeed high and if one fighter approaches this fight looking to score a quick knockout and is not prepared to go the distance it will play into the opponent’s hands.

With much dislike and “Bad Blood” between the fighters and much anticipation for the rematch it will be interesting to see who emerges victorious. The stage is set for the rematch on Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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