Steve Bunce on Boxing: Yes, they bent the rules but this is Britain's biggest fight
Contrary to lazy myth, Chisora and Haye were not in Munich to start hyping their fight
Wednesday 09 May 2012
In February they exchanged words, insults, shoves, punches and swirling tripods in Munich. Now it seems that David Haye and Dereck Chisora will fight at Upton Park on 14 July. The pair met yesterday and were separated from each other by a metal wall, 16 strong men and the preposterous notion that they will sort their difference out like "real men" when they clash. The official announcement had elements of farce and hate that will combine to make this fight the biggest in British boxing history.
However, it will not be governed on the night by the British Boxing Board of Control and will instead take place under the rules and regulations of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, which was formed in 1922 and is affiliated, like the British version, to the European Boxing Union.
Chisora, you see, is suspended by the BBBC for his role in the scuffling that took place at the end of his fabulous fight with Vitali Klitschko in February in Munich. At the post-fight press conference, Haye and Chisora had a fight (there is no other way to describe what happened) and subsequently Chisora was suspended from boxing.
Haye, meanwhile, was above the board's legal powers, as he had surrendered his licence when he retired last October. They will both now fight with Luxembourg licences and not one rule has been broken; all talk of anarchy inside the boxing business is extreme and premature.
"The board said that Dereck was able to apply for a licence in another jurisdiction and that is what has happened," said Frank Warren, who is Chisora's promoter but will not be the promoter of the Upton Park event.
Chisora had launched an appeal against his indefinite suspension and was due in Cardiff, where the BBBC has offices, next week. That hearing was postponed last week and will now not take place until late June or early July. The board appears to have made a crucial error at the original hearing in March by not banning Chisora, and then by admitting that Chisora was free to apply for a licence elsewhere. A ban, which is what people expected, would have ruined the chance of this fight happening, and members of the board have admitted that the governing body is powerless to intervene.
It needs to be pointed out that, contrary to lazy myth, Chisora and Haye were not in Munich to start hyping their fight. Haye was there to seal his fight with Vitali Klitschko, which was due to take place in June, and Chisora had exceeded all expectations by pushing Vitali for 12 rounds. The ugly scrapping was a misunderstanding because at no point was Haye looking for – or in need of – a fight with Chisora. However, once the first flashbulb caught the first punch their fate was sealed and July's fight went from inconsequential to essential. Thankfully for the boxers, the board played its role perfectly.
Meanwhile, the rematch between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson on 19 May in Las Vegas is in jeopardy, after revelations that Peterson has failed a pre-fight drug test. There are serious talks going on between the rival camps in what looks like a desperate attempt to salvage the fight, but at the same time nobody is disputing that Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone.
That is odd, but not as odd as Haye and Chisora fighting for the vacant Luxembourg Heavyweight title.
Steve Bunce presents a weekly show on BoxNation
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