The last thing you’d want to call Dereck Chisora – to his face anyway – is a mummy’s boy. Yet his mother Viola has played as crucial a role in her boy’s career.
Del Boy goes into the ring at London’s sold-out ExCel on Saturday night against heavyweight challenger Tyson Fury. Sitting quietly at ringside will be Viola, quietly praying he is still taking the advice she gave him in a fearful ear-bashing just over a year ago.
It came after he had beaten little-known Hector Alfredo Avila in his first fight after being stopped by David Haye. I called him to my office so I could read him the riot act because he had been poor against Avila. Mum and trainer Don Charles came too. I told him he looked like a load of blubber. I knew he’d been training in the gym and then going home, having a pie or stuffing himself with things like Jaffa Cakes.
I’d also heard that three hours before he was due at Upton Park for the Haye fight he was in Scott’s Restaurant in Mayfair having a good scoff. I could hardly believe it. I take no credit away from Haye for winning but Dereck was way out of order. It was so unprofessional.
I just sat him down and told him straight: “You can’t live like that and have the career you should have.”
Then Viola, a really lovely person, chipped in. She gave him a right handbagging. “Why can’t you listen to me for once in your life? It’s time to change your ways.”
Like all mums, she was very worried about her son. She reads him like a book. He once told me he was more afraid of her than any opponent in the ring. Dereck looked suitably chastened and finally seemed to get the message.
He has found a new direction. He’s a changed character and is now in fantastic condition and has won a fistful of fights in a row. At 30, he has matured – settling down and becoming a father to a beautiful baby daughter has helped. He has lost weight, stuck religiously to a new diet regime and is calmer and far less introspective.
You wonder what might have happened to him if he hadn’t got a grip through boxing because he has a turbulent past, in the ring and out, fined for errant behaviour by the courts and twice suspended by the Board of Control, once for biting an opponent and then for the infamous Munich brawl with Haye. Now he goes into this WBO world title eliminator on the “Best of British” bill screened live by BoxNation as the good guy – especially after the way Fury has been mouthing off.
The 6ft 9in giant is favourite to repeat his victory of three years ago when Chisora was shockingly out of shape. But Del Boy has a very good chance of winning.
We saw against Vitali Klitschko how he can hustle and frustrate a big man. If he boxes to instructions, turns his shoulder as he fires his shots then he might just clip unbeaten Fury, who has shown he is vulnerable defensively.
Then he’d prove that mother really does know best.
Saunders has the pedigree to give Eubank trouble
Chris Eubank Jnr v Billy Joe Saunders is the most eagerly-anticipated collision of well-matched young muscle for years, and we’ve finally got it together after some of the greatest aggro I’ve ever experienced as a promoter.
VIDEO: EUBANK JR: SAUNDERS SHOULD BE WORRIED
Now we’ll see if boxing’s latest boy wonder really is ‘the most dangerous fighter on the planet – as talented as Sugar Ray Leonard’ – as his old man claims. We’ve heard all the reports about how Chris Eubank jnr has been beating up on big names like Carl Froch, James DeGale and George Groves in sparring. I’ve seen fighters look world-class in the gym but leave it all behind when the bell rings.
Eubank has done everything that’s been asked of him but in 18 fights he hasn’t fought anyone like Billy Joe Saunders. There’s certainly something special about Eubank. His confidence and composure may border on inbred cockiness but if he really can fight then he could turn out to be more of a package than his dad.
VIDEO: SAUNDERS: I WILL POLEAXE EUBANK JR
But Saunders, a three-belt chamption and an Olympian at 18, has a more impressive pedigree. Providing Saunders doesn’t get drawn into a tear-up, I really fancy his chances.
By the way, congratulations to Froch in flying the flag for boxing by making the short list for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. It seems ironic that George Groves, the man he has twice beaten, still seems more popular. This despite a rather lacklustre performance in eventually stopping a mediocre opponent last weekend.
Chisora vs Fury and Saunders vs Eubank Jr will televise the fight live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 525. Subscribe at www.boxnation.comReuse content