Derek "War" Chisora was badly KO'd at The O2 Arena last December. Dillian Whyte was having the worst of it in a close tussle against Del Boy and the superior conditioning work the Finchley man had undergone under the management of former opponent, David Haye appeared to be paying off. Derek's momentary lapse of control after a second point deduction left him open to a perfectly timed left hook from Whyte, game over as they say.
On April 20th Chisora will be back at The O2. New trainer Dave Coldwell is on record as saying that he has been surprised at "How much Derek has left in the tank," but Chisora turned 35 years old 7 days after the second clash with Whyte and carries some serious wear and tear into the ring with him. Apart from the recent KO loss to Whyte, I always remember the beating he took in his second fight against Tyson Fury when his then trainer Don Charles retired his man after 10 rounds.
Before he steps into the ring with Gashi, Derek's record stands at (29-9-0) 21 of those wins were by knock out and he has been stopped 3 times. His losses have been to top-level fighters:
Tyson Fury x2
Dillian Whyte x2
Only Kabayel has not been tested by a world-class heavyweight other than Chisora, although he is the reigning EBU champion with 4 successful defences.
In Gashi's last fight he stepped in at 2 days notice to face former world title challenger and Chisora victim Carlos Takam and lasted till the 7th round in a brave but one-sided contest. Gashi's record (17-2-0) is made up of largely journeymen heavyweights. In April 2018 he did step up against German Tom Schwarz (20-0-0) but lost when he was disqualified in the 6th round.
At this stage of Chisora's career, he really does not need to be fighting lower tier, guys. If, as Coldwell says, Derek is in great form, then he should get straight back on the horse as they say. A rematch with Takam would have made sense. Takam has pleaded for the rematch and is promoted by Matchroom, so it wouldn't have been difficult to make.
Luckily for Hearn, the co-main event is former WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne against Doncaster's Dave Allen. Browne is way past his best after a disastrous KO defeat to Whyte on his last visit to The O2 in March 2018 and in what appeared to be a lucky escape at the beginning of the month, Browne was knocked down in the 2nd round by Kamil Sokolowski (6-14-2) but got away with a 6 round points win in Turnberry, Scotland.
Allen is such a likeable character that I think Eddie Hearn knows the boxing fans will allow him to get countless chances that other fighters wouldn't. While he is game and fun to watch, Allen fails whenever he is stepped up in quality. Losses to Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka and Dillian Whyte are no disgrace but his loss and draw for the Commonwealth title with Lenroy Thomas were avoidable with the right commitment.
Browne vs Allen could be the fight of the night simply because they are well matched. 2 years ago, we wouldn't have considered Allen as an opponent for the then heavy-handed and durable WBA Champ, but now Browne seems to have very little punch resistance. Allen should stop Browne as long as he has trained adequately.