Who would ever have thought it? Dereck Chisora is one of the most sought after fighters in the heavyweight division even with nine losses on his 40 fight ledger. Or are the nine losses why he is so popular with his peers?
As soon as Joseph Parker pulled out of their scheduled bout on the same card as Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis at the London O2 Arena on November 26th, a whole host of top 15 heavyweights threw their names into the hat to take the New Zealanderâ€™s place and the payday that goes with it.
Alexander Povetkin, Michael Hunter, Oscar Rivas, Otto Wallin, Manuel Charr and Martin Bakole have all been added to a growing list that promoter Eddie Hearn has to choose from with the say-so of Chisora of course. So who is it likely to be?
From a business standpoint, If I were in Hearnâ€™s shoes, I would check to see if the WBA would allow Charr vs Chisora to be sanctioned as a defence of the WBA regular heavyweight title that the Lebanese born German has held since defeating Alexander Ustinov for the vacant crown in 2017. Even though unified champion Andy Ruiz Jr holds the WBA super title, these pesky little regular titles can be used as leverage in any future negotiations. As much as it irks boxing fans, Charr will retire as a former world heavyweight champion, so the same would go for â€˜Del Boyâ€™ were he to defeat Charr.
No-one else on the list holds a version of the world title, so Charr is a real possibility.
If I were Chisora I would take Otto Wallin off that list first of all. Why take on a 6â€™ 5â€ southpaw who we now know is capable of upsetting the best-laid plans. Povetkin and Hunter are hot commodities right now and the risk/reward for the Finchley, North London resident may not lie in his favour at this time. I would favour both to win if they were picked.
Promoters always want to keep their money earners facing opponents that they promote whenever possible, and that is why Martin Bakole might, just might get the call for November 26th. These two have sparred and it might be that Bakole is the wrong fit for Chisora. According to Bakolieâ€™s trainer Billy Nelson â€œDel knows Martinâ€™s worth. Theyâ€™ve sparred together and let me tell you Del donâ€™t want to face Martin with 10oz gloves on. One guy will get Koâ€™d, not Martin.â€
Although this is the easiest fight for Hearn to put together, It might also be the best in terms of action and entertainment. We all know â€˜Del Boyâ€™, what you see is what you get, he wonâ€™t be trying to win the fight by jabbing off the back foot, he will pressure, pressure and keep it going until his opponent folds or he wins an entertaining fight on points. We have seen an under-motivated Chisora cruise to a boring points defeat against European champion Agit Kabayel in 2017 but that is not the normal Chisora fight profile.
Bakole lost to Michael Hunter in October 2018, the circumstances of that defeat were not as they might have seen according to trainer Billy Nelson but Hunterâ€™s subsequent wins over Alexander Ustinov, Fabio Maldonado and Sergey Kuzmin to put him within touching distance of a title shot, donâ€™t make Bakolieâ€™s sole defeat quiet so damaging to his ranking.
The Congolese born resident of Airdrie, Scotland is talented. He has fast hands, excellent footwork, and good power in both hands. But his biggest strength is his boxing IQ. Whilst he likes to take the fight to his opponent, he isnâ€™t an easy man to hit. His ability to block and slip shots while standing in punching distance is â€œold schoolâ€ and a delight to watch. What we need to know about Bakolie is how his stamina will hold out over 12 rounds if Chisora can take his power. Not many stop â€˜Del Boyâ€™, so Bakolie would need to pace himself as he has never been the championship distance before.
Hearn is under pressure here to get the right opponent for Chisora but business rules these decisions. Better to take criticism now and put on a great fight for the PPV audience than bore them with Chisora vs Wallin or Chisora vs Charr, but as stated beforehand, the Charr fight could be for a world title so donâ€™t be too surprised.
My choice would be Chisora vs Bakolie.