By Bradley White @B_White11
In a chaotic heavyweight title scene in which three men lay claim to the throne, a single victory has the power to put you in the discussion for a title shot. This weekend in London, two former world title challengers compete to stay relevant in boxing’s premiere division.
Dereck Chisora and Arthur Szpilka meet in a crossroads fight on the Whyte-Rivas undercard, with defeat for either confining them to the role of gatekeeper in the current heavyweight landscape. Neither man is likely to go down without a fight, though, both have gained a reputation for their wild demeanours and antics and for that reason fight fans are hoping for a war this Saturday night.
Tried-and-tested 35 year old Chisora has been in with the true elite of the division, sharing a ring with Tyson Fury, Vitali Klitschko, David Haye and Dillian Whyte among others. After a difficult 2017 where it appeared he may have been on his last legs, ‘Del Boy’ enjoyed something of a career resurgence last year, securing a huge win against Carlos Takam with a highlight reel knockout and giving a very good account of himself in a highly competitive rematch with Whyte before getting caught with a huge left hook for the KO loss.
The biggest moment of Szpilka’s career to date came in his 2016 WBC title challenge against Deontay Wilder. The Polish southpaw caused Wilder serious problems throughout the fight, potentially being up on the cards before being caught with a huge counter right hand in the 9th that saw him leave the ring on a stretcher. Szpilka took 18 months out following the loss, but was stopped again in his return against highly rated prospect Adam Kownacki. Szpilka has since picked up a couple of victories against ageing veterans Dominick Guinn and Mariusz Wach, but doubts over the strength of his chin continue after suffering a knockdown to the 39 year old Wach.
Chisora will be looking to impress as he appears to be heading towards a showdown with former WBO title holder Joseph Parker later in the year. The London-based brawler will have to be warned against complacency, however, with a tendency to lack motivation when away from the big fights he will have to be careful not to overlook a potential banana skin in Szpilka.
Chisora appears to be spoiling for a fight, wanting to live up to the promise of this fight between two warriors.
“I always like to go to war,” he stated at the final press conference on Thursday. “Every fighter says they will come and fight but, really and truly, I hope he doesn’t run and gives the fans what they want.”
Szpilka admitted the respect he has for his opponent, but will be all business when it comes time to fight.
“I have big respect for Chisora, he’s a warrior with a big heart. I know him personally, he gives all his heart and wants to destroy opponents, but not this time.”
While it may not necessarily be all out war from the get go, with so much on the line for both you wouldn’t expect either man to go down without a fight. Don’t be surprised if this one catches fire and we get the fireworks everyone has been hoping for.