Six years on from their first meeting in Hamburg, Derek Chisora emerged a split-decision victor over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev after twelve gritty rounds at the O2 Arena to even the tie between the veteran heavyweights.
Though not to the extent that David Haye‘s commentary for DAZN on the night might have suggested, Chisora did have success with solid work to the body from the off, though the forty-one-year-old Pulev did return in spells with a stiff, typical Eastern European jab. Chisora was rocked hard by a short uppercut during the fifth which left him stumbling back to the ropes as Pulev looked to put him away in front of an adoring home crowd. In typical Chisora fashion however the Finchley man regrouped and continued to chip away at the torso of the 6″4 Bulgarian. The affair was a scrappy one with lots of holding and rabbit punches from both sides, Pulev in particular receiving multiple stern warnings from referee Marcus McDonnell without any points being taken, and both men looked their age as the contest drew on.
Attention turned to Master of Ceremonies David Diamante upon the sounding of the final bell, with the three scorecards reading 116-112 in favour of Pulev, 116-112 the other way for the home man in Chisora, and then 116-114 to hand the Brit his first win in three years following successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk and Joseph Parker respectively.
In his post-fight interview, ‘Del Boy’ admitted he did not have many fights left in him before urging promoter Eddie Hearn to get him a fight against ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Deontay Wilder, surely a frightening proposition for anyone who cares for the thirty-eight-year-old Brit. While it is for nobody other than the fighter themselves to decide when it is time to call it a day, Chisora has thirteen professional defeats to his name and the list of hard, taking fights he has partaken in is long enough to already warrant concerns for his long-term health. Two wars with Dillian Whyte, a tough twelve-rounder versus Vitali Klitschko, a life and death eight rounds against Carlos Takam and a second showing against Joseph Parker which became uncomfortable to watch towards the end will have been enough to retire most fighters. Yes, Chisora may appear in relatively good health now, but one need only read the book ‘Damage‘ by Tris Dixon to understand that the affect of consistent head trauma may not be visible until years later, and without sounding morbid it would be a miracle already if Chisora was not to suffer in some ways further down the line.
Any person with an ounce of care for Chisora should be doing everything in their power to prevent him from stepping in with one of the most powerful heavyweights the sport has seen in Wilder, not to mention a version that is out for blood following his back-to-back defeats to Tyson Fury in recent years. It is not for me to tell Chisora when to hang up the gloves, but it is for those around him to advise him about what’s best for his health and prevent from having one tough fight too many, if he hasn’t already crossed that threshold.
The super-welterweight rematch between Uzbekistan’s Israil Madrimov and France’ Michel Soro came to a disappointing and premature ending after three rounds following a cut to the Frenchman’s head, the result of an accidental head clash. Madrimov was on top and looked to have Soro hurt in the second, but a coming together in the third left blood spurting from the forehead of the thirty-four-year-old Soro. The cut at first looked a bad one, but subsequent footage of the Frenchman in the corner looked to show that it was not in a compromising position after all, with no blood appearing to run into the eye. A technical draw was announced as a result and both promoter Eddie Hearn and pundit Tony Bellew both expressed their surprise at the decision. Hearn admitted post-fight that the WBA may call for another rematch between the pair as a result despite there being little clamour for a third fight.
Ramla Ali ran out a comfortable victor over Argentina’s Agustina Rojas, winning all eight rounds on referee Chas Coakley’s scorecard to move 6-0-0 as a professional. Ali became Somalia’s first representative in the sport of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics last year, and had plenty of fans ringside to witness the sixth professional triumph of her career so far. In his first fight sine moving down to 154-pounds, Caiomhin Agyarko maintained his unbeaten record with a hard fought but eventual comfortable victory against a tough Lukasz Maciec over ten rounds. Agyarko boxed well, especially considering the bout was only his tenth so far, and will no doubt have learned a lot against a game Maciec who made the Belfast man work hard for his win on Saturday night.
Further down the card, heavyweight Fabio Wardley blasted through late replacement Chris Healey inside a round to clear the way for a British title clash versus Nathan Gorman next, while Birmingham’s Solomon Dacres won every round versus Kevin Espindola in their eight-round clash in the top division. Derek Chisora-managed Yousuf Ibrahim comfortably dealt with Francisco Rodrgiuez in his second pro outing down at super-bantamweight.