In previewing the third bout between undefeated two-time Heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury and longtime contender and former world title challenger Dereck Chisora, this observer pointed out that the trilogy bout between the current holder of the WBC World Heavyweight championship and the former European Heavyweight champion Chisora did not come in the standard way that most think of when it comes to a series of three fights between two fighters. While it was indeed true that Fury had won both of the previous encounters, including stopping Chisora in the second bout eight years ago, the question going into the third fight for the champion was whether or not he was looking past the challenger and toward a potential unification bout in 2023 against undefeated unified IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO Heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk for what would be the Undisputed Heavyweight championship of the world.
An additional question that I personally had in mind given not only what had occurred in the previous two meetings between Fury and Chisora, but specifically given Fury’s status going into the third fight as a significant favorite, was whether Fury could produce a statement-making performance and close the book on the trilogy in convincing fashion. It was also worth wondering whether at an advanced stage of his career, if Chisora could produce an upset the likes of which would be one of the top in the history of the Heavyweight division.
With a crowd of over 60,000 in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night in London, England, Fury showed that he was not looking ahead to a more lucrative bout to come in the near future. Although Chisora came out aggressively in the first round and did what a shorter fighter is theoretically supposed to do against a taller and longer fighter in trying to push the 6’9 268lb. Fury back by going to the body and applying pressure, it was not long before Fury put on a full display of his Boxing skills. Following the opening round where the challenger seemed to land more punches, Fury began using his reach, angles, and combination punching to gradually administer a beating on the longtime contender. One of the primary weapons that the champion used in doing that was his jab, followed by overhand rights, and mixing his punches in combination to keep the 6’1 ½ Chisora at a distance where Fury could hit him and the challenger could only occasionally return offense. Another weapon that was noticeable in this fight as was the case in Fury’s last title defense in April against top contender Dillian Whyte was the use of the right uppercut that the champion used when Chisora tried to duck under his long reach and attempted to get on the inside.
Although Chisora as has been the case throughout his career remained very “Game” and was able to hit Fury sporadically, particularly with flush overhand rights, as the fight progressed, one question came to mind as it became clear that Fury would be able to take what Chisora had to offer and continue dominating the combat, how long would the fight last? While no one can take anything away from the heart a fighter shows during a fight, this was the type of fight that I frankly worried that if it were not stopped as the one-way beating continued, it may have resulted in permanent injury for Chisora.
It was after all only recently that Aidos Yerbossynuly was hospitalized with a severe brain injury after being stopped by undefeated Super-Middleweight contender David Morrell. The commonalities between that fight and this one was clearly apparent. Both Yerbossynuly and Chisora were too brave for their own good and both fights were allowed to go on well beyond where they should have been stopped. In a scenario that was similar to the second encounter between Fury and Chisora where Fury stopped him in ten rounds in a mostly one-sided fight, the third bout between the two would also be stopped with just ten seconds remaining in the tenth round when Referee Victor Loughlin finally decided that Chisora had taken enough punishment.
Although in some ways Fury’s performance and to be more specific the dominance he showed in this fight reminded me of two dominant Heavyweight champions from a recent era in the sport, brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, the latter of whom Fury defeated to win his first world championship in November 2015 in that he was so dominant that the outcome of the fight was formulaic, I found myself openly questioning why the fight was allowed to go into the tenth round. No one should take anything away from Dereck Chisora for the heart and frankly mettle he showed in this fight and has shown for his entire career, but as was the case several weeks ago following David Morrell’s twelfth round stoppage of Aidos Yerbossynuly, I feel that both Chisora’s corner as well as Referee Victor Loughlin allowed this to go on well beyond where it should have been stopped.
A fighter’s mentality, at least most of the time where a boxer does not determine on their own that they have taken enough punishment and decide to retire from a fight, is to keep fighting no matter what where the only way a fight will be stopped is either that fighter being knocked out, or being able to go the distance. What is not factored into the equation is the amount of punishment a fighter suffers in the process. It is therefore, the responsibility of both the referee officiating a bout and more specifically a fighter’s corner to know when enough is enough and to protect a fighter from themselves in order to hopefully prevent the possibility of permanent injury.
While in this case Dereck Chisora was able to leave the ring and by all accounts at least as of this writing seems to be okay following this fight, the subject of when a fight should be stopped is something that yours truly feels needs to be addressed by the various state athletic commissions, international regulatory boards, and sanctioning organizations that appoint referees to official bouts. It should also be explained to those working a fighter’s corner that they are the first line of protection to ensure that their fighter can exit competition safely. Although thankfully there was no instance of severe injury resulting from this fight, preventing and perhaps protocols need to be implemented in the future at every level of the sport.
As for Tyson Fury, if a bout between he and Oleksandr Usyk is indeed the aim going into 2023, he has done his part to set up the potential Undisputed Heavyweight championship fight. Perhaps the champion will choose to have one more fight prior to a potential bout with Usyk. If that were the case, top contenders Joe Joyce, who is currently unbeaten and the WBO’s top Heavyweight contender and WBA number one contender Daniel Dubois, who scored a third round stoppage of Kevin Lerena after being dropped three times in the first round on the undercard of Fury’s second stoppage of Dereck Chisora, would both be good potential options for Fury, particularly if the champion wants to continue fighting for the time being in the United Kingdome where both fighters much like Whyte and Chisora before them, have sizable followings and could likely help sell a stadium out to challenge Fury.
With two victories in 2022 now in the books, if Fury is done toying with retirement, it is hard to say that he would not be favored over Usyk, Joyce, or Dubois given both his size and skillset, which seems to be improving with every fight. No matter who the current WBC world champion fights next, there are some interesting times and possibilities ahead in the Heavyweight division heading into 2023. The only question might be could either of the three potential opponents or perhaps a contender not currently in the mix pose a challenge for Fury.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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