If one is a student of Boxing they are likely familiar with the idea that in just about every division there are always a short list of fighters that end up being associated with the era they fought in for their ability to remain in the discussion of fringe and top contenders for many years. While such fighters are not always defined by the world championships they are able to obtain during their careers, others are defined by being contenders who may have come up short in challenging for world titles.
Two such fighters are longtime Heavyweight contenders and former world title challengers Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora. Two fighters that have spent most of the last decade at or near the top of the contenders pool of the Heavyweight division. Both men, former European Heavyweight champions are also no strangers to each other. For it was in May 2016 when the two met for the then vacant European Heavyweight championship.
On that evening, it was Pulev, who put on a disciplined Boxing performance to earn a twelve round split decision. A major key to Pulev’s success was how he strategically found ways to land his right hand on Chisora and to be more specific, how he was able to keep him at distance for lengthy periods throughout the fight.
As the fight went on, Chisora did have sporadic success in landing punches on Pulev, but often those punches were thrown singularly and not in combination. The frustration for Chisora eventually mounted where he seemingly elected to sit on the ropes in the later rounds and thus gave up more ground to Pulev in terms of the scoring of the fight.
Although the result of the bout ultimately was a split decision in favor of Pulev, this observer felt that he out boxed Chisora clearly. Now over six years later, Pulev and Chisora have found their way back to each other as they will meet in a rematch on Saturday, July 9th at the O2 Arena in London, England.
An argument can be made that both fighters are in similar positions as they were going into this rematch, which can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN, as they were prior to their first fight in 2016. Both men have the ultimate goal of trying to position themselves for another opportunity to fight for a world title.
Perhaps the difference going into this fight however, is both fighters might be at different stages in their careers. While Pulev went on to challenge for a world title for a second time in 2020 and is coming off a ten round unanimous decision two months ago over contender Jerry Forrest in his one bout since being stopped by Anthony Joshua, Chisora is coming off two losses to former world champion Joseph Parker. The second loss to Parker saw Chisora take a beating, but did manage to go the distance.
Some might say that this bout could represent what might be viewed as a last chance for Chisora in terms of being a perennial contender. Having said that, a fighter is always one fight or in some cases one punch away from bouncing back from a down period in their careers.
The question that I have going into this fight centers on Dereck Chisora and just how much he has left in him as a fighter. It is important to remember however that a significant period of time has passed since Pulev and Chisora last saw each other inside the ring and both have had highs and lows over the course of that time.
A question that some may ask is after forty-four professional fights, suffering twelve losses over those bouts, and coming off of two losses just how much Chisora has left to give. Given how the first fight was fought between the two, perhaps another question that should be asked is can there be a different outcome in the rematch?
At his best, Dereck Chisora is a pressure fighter that moves his head in a similar manner as former World Heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. While this style can effectively close distance against taller fighters like Pulev, Chisora was not able to close the gap consistently and was kept at distance by Pulev’s reach.
While it is a task that is easier said than done, Chisora must find a way to close the distance between himself and Pulev. Although Chisora much like his opponent has the type of punching power that can turn a fight in his favor at any time if he lands cleanly, he must also avoid throwing punches singularly. Simply put, Chisora needs to throw more than one punch at a time when he lets his hands go if he wants to be successful in this fight.
In contrast to Chisora, the task that faces Kubrat Pulev is to attempt to repeat his performance from 2016. Although he dominated the first fight, he must not become complacent and must be as disciplined as he was in the first encounter because Dereck Chisora is the type of fighter that can take advantage of any openings that an opponent might leave. As such, Pulev needs to box and try to keep Chisora on the outside of his reach. Beyond this, one tactic that worked to Pulev’s advantage in the first fight was as Chisora gradually became frustrated and began to lunge forward with wide hooks in an attempt to land something significant on Pulev, Pulev was able to use his legs to move back at an angle as well as move his upper body to evade those punches. Pulev should look to use this tactic once again. While such tactics do not always translate into the most entertaining bouts to watch if you are successful, if you are a fighter you do what you need to in order to win and such an approach when executed can be quite successful.
Although there will likely be discussion as to what may loom ahead for the winner of this fight, neither fighter should be looking beyond this rematch. After all, the most important fight a fighter should be concerned about is the one that is directly in front of them. Will the rematch have a different outcome? We will find out on Saturday, July 9th.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Pulev vs. Chisora 2 takes place on Saturday, July 9th at the O2 Arena in London, England. The card can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 12:30PM ET/9:30AM PT with Before The Bell, which will feature a portion of undercard bouts. The remainder of the undercard, which will be followed by the main event, will begin at 2PM ET/11AM PT (*Main Event tentatively scheduled to begin at 5PM ET U. S. Times Only.)
For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs, availability around the world, local start times in your area, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com.
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