How will Derek Chisora be remembered? As a slightly comical cult hero known for starting press conference brawls and arguments over coin tosses, or as a serious contender for heavyweight world titles?
We will be a lot closer to finding out the answer to that question after his fight against New Zealander Joseph Parker this evening, a former world champion who also has plenty to prove after defeats against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte burst his bubble.
The fight has been more than 15 months in the making, and was due to be held in October 2019 in Las Vegas, but Parker pulled out with a mystery illness caused by a spider bite. More Peter Parker than Joseph you could say, a joke Chisora was keen to revive when the pair had breakfast earlier this week with a man in a Spiderman costume in attendance.
It is now nine years since Chisora’s sole world title fight against Vitali Klitschko, and time is running out at 37. Last year, he lost to Oleksandr Usyk on points at Wembley Arena.
At the weigh-in, the fight briefly looked in some jeopardy when Chisora lost a coin toss that meant he would have to walk on first rather than second. Common sense appeared to prevail on Saturday morning though, thanks to a conversation between Chisora and his mother, Viola.
“I didn’t see this fight happening with Derek walking into the ring first, but thankfully the voice of reason came in,” David Haye told Sky Sports. “Viola – Derek’s lovely mother – is the only person he actually listens to.”
Before that, Katie Taylor defends her undisputed world lightweight titles against Natasha Jonas, reigniting a rivalry which began with a fight at the 2012 Olympics. Taylor is an undefeated champion but Jonas was previously halted by Viviane Obenauf in 2018.
Taylour said: “Tasha has got a loss on her record herself, and that loss has come from a knockout, so if anybody can be hurt it’s actually her.
“But it’s going to be a great fight, I’m really looking forward to it. Two top quality opponents facing each other, this is what it’s all about.”
The ringwalks should begin around 9pm before Chisora vs Parker at 10.30pm.