Tyson Fury’s rollercoaster relationship with Derek Chisora involved death threats, fines, flipped tables, even friendship – and then fallout on Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua.
As the two heavyweights face off for the third time, now with a world title on the line, it’s a long way to their first fight in 2011 when two undefeated rookies battled it out for the British and Commonwealth belts. Fury has become one of the biggest stars in boxing ever since, so it’s a revelation to remember that Chisora was the more proven of the two in that fight.
Chisora had beaten decent domestic foes Danny Williams and Sam Sexton, but had already given a hint of his unstable demeanor when he planted a kiss on the lips of opponent Carl Baker during a stare (before l ‘knock out in the second round).
Fury’s name recognition at the time was solely based on his unique name. His eventual victory over Chisora was hailed as “Boxer named after Mike Tyson gets unanimous decision” in the mainstream press.
This victory was predicted on the scales. It looked like a pick-em fight – a fight that drew an impressive 2.3 million Channel 5 viewers – in progress. At least until Chisora swings in at a whopping 18th 9lbs at the weigh-in. It was 17 pounds heavier than his last fight and meant Chisora edged Fury – the taller man at 7 inches – by nearly half a stone.
Fury began showing hints of his now familiar Jekyll and Hyde sides in the build. The 22-year-old went from praising Chisora’s skills, head movements and punching power to claiming he wanted to ‘kill’ his opponent and calling him a ‘little jerk arrogant” and “house ***”. This caused Frank Warren, then Chisora’s manager, to report Fury to the British Boxing Board of Control. (Let’s assume Frank and Fury can laugh about it now.)
On fight night, a chubby Chisora caught the still-green Fury with right hands and crunchy looping left hooks in round two, but Fury controlled the majority of the rounds. The action was sloppy but relentless and the man named after ‘Iron Mike’ earned his biggest career victory in the end, moving to 15-0 while Chisora slipped to 14-1.
At the time of their rematch in 2014, Fury was in a much darker mood. He had seen a fight with David Haye which would have seen him around £5million scrapped – twice – due to Hayemaker’s injuries. Fury compared it to winning the lottery but losing the ticket.
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He knocked over a table at their summer press conference, unleashed a tirade of insults at Chisora, then confronted him on stage and was eventually fined £15,000 by the BBBofC (which Fury insisted he couldn’t afford to pay). Chisora having to postpone his summer fight to November due to a fractured hand didn’t make things any better.
When Fury returned for his press homework, he gagged himself, with “BBBofC” written across his taped mouth, silently dropping the bird on his foes. Somehow, Chisora – who had slapped Vitali Klitschko and been bottled up by Haye since his first fight with Fury – was now chosen as the sensible statesman. “He needs some publicity – he needs people talking about him,” Dr Chisora said. “But we are just laughing.
“With him insulting me two or three years ago we would have been rolling on the floor right now. But, as you can see, right now I’m very calm.
Still, if Chisora’s five-fight winning streak and Fury’s troubled mental state were meant to result in a more competitive fight, it’s not. Fury gave a showcase of his improvement in the ring and a hint of the brilliance he would display going forward as he seamlessly transitioned to southpaw and dispatched Chisora from wide range. The Zimbabwe-born Londoner’s corner eventually pulled him out after round 10.
However, as with many warriors who traded abuse and punches, the Fury-Chisora relationship improved dramatically after they stopped fighting. The two welcomed each other’s courage and actively support each other in their challenges. As Fury would continue to lead the division, Chisora would successfully reinvent himself as an advanced brawler unafraid of any challenge.
Yet an undercurrent of tension remained over the ensuing eight years. This is likely partly related to Fury’s rivalry with his British nemesis Anthony Joshua. Chisora and AJ hail from the same amateur club, Finchley ABC in Barnet, and the two have a warm friendship. Deep down, Fury knows that if it comes to choosing sides in a future Fury-Joshua battle, Chisora would go with his amateur stablemate.
But what really seemed to blind Fury earlier this year was that Chisora tipped Dillian Whyte – who ‘Del Boy’ had two memorable wars with – to knock out Tyson when they fought at Wembley. “I’m ready to put my house on Dillian Whyte knocking out Tyson Fury,” Chisora told talkSPORT. “Look at your faces in the studio! Tyson is my homie and I know he listens – Tyson, you’re going to get knocked out.
After Fury dealt with Whyte with a thunderous uppercut, it was his turn to taunt Chisora. “Derek Chisora is now homeless, sorry to everyone,” he joked. “He lost his house to the unlucky Joseph Parker. And Derek – I have a house next to my house in Morecambe, you are welcome anytime bro.
Yet Fury’s mind shifts like the wind. Soon, the man who offered Chisora a home began to ponder Whyte’s errant prediction bitterly.
“Me and Derek Chisora were buddies,” Fury said on talkSPORT Fight Night. “I went to Monaco to support him. I went to Hamburg to support him. Then, as soon as I have a fight, he says: “I choose the other guy”. So Derek Chisora can kiss my ass and if I see him I’ll punch him in the face.
Fury will get that opportunity at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend in a trilogy fight few saw coming. Chisora may have just picked up a win over tough contender Kubrat Pulev, but he’s 38 with the wear and tear that comes with it.
Fury, 34, often fights up and down to the level of his opponent – masterful against Deontay Wilder or Wladimir Klitscko; struggling with Steve Cunningham or Otto Wallin. But it will be a huge twist in the vendetta/friendship between these two kindred spirits if Chisora can really get Fury in serious trouble in the ring on Saturday night.