Tonight, at The O2 in London, heavyweight warrior (write it with a capital W) Dereck Chisora won a punishing, thrilling and gruelling FOTY contender with fellow warrior Kubrat Pulev. Chisora, who has heard calls for his retirement for some time now, pulled out his biggest win in months by way of his split decision victory. Scores were 116-112 apiece and 116-114 for Chisora.
Chisora, at 38 three years younger than Pulev, is now 33-12(23). Pulev, who like Chisora gave his absolute all tonight, falls to 29-3(14).
Tonight’s fight, one that was hardly demanded – Pulev winning a pretty dull decision win over Chisora back in 2016 – gave us the kind of incredible action no-one saw coming. Chisora went to the body quite viciously, he slung and landed a ton of overhand rights that blasted into Pulev’s head yet, courtesy of the Bulgarian’s chin, these shots didn’t seem to have much of an effect. Pulev seemed to be the fresher fighter as the war wore on, looking less gassed, and the older man landed uppercuts and one-twos to the head.
Pulev was badly cut over both eyes yet his facial expression barely changed otherwise. Talk about a poker face. At times, as has been the case in some of his other recent fights, Chisora looked all done, flagging on the ropes. But then, biting down on his mouth-piece, Chisora would come roaring back. The last half of tonight’s fight was heavyweight slugging at its best.
Chisora has fallen short on the cards in some of his other 12 round wars and the result of this one hung in the balance. A draw could have been seen as the fairest result but at the same time it’s impossible not to feel happy for Chisora. For years now, people have been asking, “how many times can Chisora keep going to the well?”
Well, guess what – Chisora must have two wells!
So what now for “War,” a man who by his own admission doesn’t have many fights left? Chisora, ever the gutsy warrior, called out Deontay Wilder when speaking after tonight’s thriller! That fight might be too much for Chisora, but who won’t be rooting for him if the fight does happen?
Both Chisora and Pulev, veterans who have been around forever, reached down and gave us something special tonight. As Chisora said would be the case. Never should we doubt his incredible fighting man. Never.