Joseph Parker can take another step towards world level as he promises a more decisive victory over Derek Chisora in Saturday’s Christmas cracker, but KO-hungry ‘Del Boy’ stands in his way and cannot afford to lose
- Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora return to the Manchester Arena on Saturday
- The heavyweight pair first squared off in a thrilling 12-round encounter in May
- Parker claimed a split decision win despite being dropped after seven seconds
- Chisora, 37, was incensed by the result but now gets a shot at redemption
- Sign up here to watch Saturday’s fight exclusively on DAZN
Joseph Parker has undergone a slow and steady rebuild job since his pair of defeats to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018.
But his cumbersome climb back towards the heavyweight elite could be derailed in an instant as he takes on a knockout-hungry Derek Chisora, a man who simply cannot afford to lose.
The pair return to the Manchester Arena, where Parker claimed a controversial split decision win over an incensed Chisora in May, a result that left ‘Del Boy’ seething amid claims of a robbery, having knocked his opponent to the canvas after just seven seconds.
Joseph Parker (left) and Derek Chisora (right) go head-to-head once more on Saturday night
Parker was given the nod on points in the first bout, a decision that left Chisora incensed
The duo – who both remain adamant they were worthy of the decision – will run it back in a Christmas cracker of a rematch, with a plethora of options becoming available for the winner going into 2022, while a loss would leave either contender perhaps stranded in heavyweight limbo.
The enticing rematch takes place seven months after a scintillating 12-round encounter, one that nearly fell through in the dying seconds due to a rather absurd argument over who would walk to the ring first.
Chisora threatened to abandon the clash after losing a coin toss to the New Zealander – meaning he would take to the ring first – insisting he would only fight should the roles be reversed.
Thankfully, for everyone involved, it was Chisora’s mother who saved the day, talking the ever-fiery heavyweight into proceeding with the fight, despite being made to walk to the ring first – a custom typically handed to the ‘B side’ of a bout.
Despite Chisora’s initial reservations he made a blistering start, remarkably knocking Parker to the canvas with the first meaningful punch thrown in the fight, just seven seconds after the opening bell kicked off proceedings.
A clubbing overhand right left a perplexed Parker momentarily on hands and knees after what could only be described as a disaster start. And though the heavyweight did well to recover as quickly as he did, it was the veteran Chisora who pushed the pace in the first half of the fight.
Del Boy says he was robbed after knocking Parker down seven seconds into the fight in May
Chisora’s energy-sapping and unrelenting pressure made it increasingly uncomfortable for the away fighter, with another looping hook slumping Parker onto the ropes in the third, while the Brit connected with some eye-catching body shots in the fourth.
The first half of the fight belonged largely to Chisora but the heavyweight expended a significant proportion of his gas tank in operating at an unforgiving pace, allowing Parker – who showed brilliant resilience and determination – to come into his own in the final six rounds having weathered the storm.
Parker proceeded to pick off an increasingly exhausted Chisora, landing a number of spiteful punches of his own, with two judges eventually scoring the bout 115-113 and 116-111 in his favour, while the other had it 115-113 to the Brit.
Unlike many of the rematches we see in boxing today, Parker was not contractually obliged to give Chisora a second bite at the apple, instead choosing to go again and vowing to show his development in what he hopes to be a more decisive victory.
Parker came into his own in the second half of the fight as Chisora became increasingly weary
The 29-year-old left his long-term trainer and friend Kevin Barry for Andy Lee just weeks before the bout, in what he admits was one of the hardest decisions of his life.
The former world champion acknowledges it was a decision that had to be made, having put in a number of sub-par performances after losing his WBO title to Joshua, but admits it resulted in newfound trepidation ahead of the must-win bout.
‘There was uncertainty,’ Parker said of the first fight, speaking to Sportsmail. ‘I had a quick turnaround from the fight in New Zealand (against Junior Fa) and I think it was five or six weeks with Andy.
‘I was on a few phone calls with Andy, then all of a sudden I’m on a flight to Ireland to meet him for the first time and see if we click. (I had to) get over the jetlag, work on a new style with a new coach in a new country… the uncertainty comes from there.
‘You’re not quite sure if you’ll click with the coach, what he’s teaching you, if you’re doing enough training.’
Parker opted to train with Andy Lee (centre) on the recommendation of Tyson Fury (right)
This time, things are different. Parker has had a further seven months to get accustomed to the teachings of his new coach, a partnership he sought based on the recommendation of friend and training partner Tyson Fury.
Parker insists his confidence is building day-by-day and assures he now has full trust in his new mentor, claiming he knows exactly what he has to do to win the fight.
‘I’ve just got to sit on my shots and have the confidence to back my power,’ he said. ‘Every heavyweight – every fighter – has power, you’ve just got to back it. I’ve got to sit down on my punches and make them count. Enough of this pit-a-pat, now I’m going to go bang!’
Parker vows to sit down on his punches in his first-ever rematch on Saturday night
For Parker, who has been training with the Fury’s in Morecambe, a loss on Saturday night would undo much of his work in recent months and years, having strung together five victories on the bounce since his defeat to Whyte, albeit largely against significantly lesser opposition.
A win would propel the former champion back towards elite level in the heavyweight division. He’s currently ranked second by the WBO, third by the IBF and fourth by the WBC, and another win would put him in a great position heading into 2022.
Parker has acknowledged that the heavyweight titles are largely out of reach for the time being, with Joshua set for a rematch against recent conqueror Oleksandr Usyk early next year, unless he opts to step aside, while Fury has been ordered to defend his WBC strap against Whyte.
With another victory, Parker can ensure he’s one of the first in line when a shot at a title does become available.
Chisora is facing a third-straight loss, having previously been beaten by Oleksandr Usyk
Chisora is facing a different set of circumstances as he heads into the rematch, having been left disgusted by the result of the first fight.
‘I’m beyond getting upset now,’ he said after the result was announced. ‘It’s difficult. I train hard. I put pressure on, this is the treatment I get from boxing.’
Fuelled by the prospect of correcting what he believes was the wrong decision, Chisora also faces the possibility of a third-straight defeat, having previously lost out on points to Usyk in October 2020.
Though against highly credible opposition, three successive defeats makes any fighter difficult to market at the top level. And with no disrespect to those who have taken to the role over the years, Chisora is better than a gatekeeper, or just a test for an up-and-coming fighter.
Fury, who Chisora has lost to on two occasions, did recently name Del Boy on his wish list of opponents before he retires. But with bouts against Whyte, Usyk and Joshua to take priority, it’s a fight that is perhaps years down the line. Another loss for Chisora would certainly lead to questions of a possible retirement.
Even before the fight, it’s a question that has been put to Chisora, who responded with: ‘For me, there’s no losing option for this fight to be honest with you.’
Chisora is once again working with trainer Dave Coldwell (right) ahead of the fight
It’s for that reason Chisora opted to make changes of his own ahead of the all-important bout, reuniting with former trainer Dave Coldwell, who was in his corner as he defeated Artur Szpilka via a second-round stoppage back in 2019.
Their working relationship previously broke down due to logistics, but in realising he needs to up his game, the usually London-based Chisora agreed to spend every Monday to Thursday training in Rotherham in recent weeks and months.
Chisora has revealed he has entered the relationship without ego, asking questions ‘like a five-year-old’ and soaking up all the information the widely-renowned trainer has to offer.
Chisora reveals he’s been asking questions ‘like a five-year-old ahead of the fight
Coldwell insists he has been blown away by how receptive the 37-year-old has been, with Chisora vowing to bring a new level into the rematch.
‘You’re going to see so many changes, we’re going for a stoppage to be honest with you,’ he told reporters. ‘I know most people wonder why I’ve been talking about the refs, it’s just one of those things.
‘We know exactly what Joseph’s going to try to do. He’s going to try and come in the later rounds and push his power and speed.’
A win would keep Chisora’s career alive and kicking, with potential match-ups against the likes of Joe Joyce, Hughie Fury, Otto Wallin or perhaps even Andy Ruiz Jr to be made.
But in a must-win fight for both, the outcome remains difficult to determine. Both fighters have been known to fluctuate from performance to performance, and we’ll only find out which version will turn up on the night.
If we do get a bout as competitive as the first, however, which most are anticipating, we’re in for an absolute treat as 2021 draws to a close.
Sign up here to watch Saturday’s fight exclusively on DAZN
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