Licensed To Thrill: David Haye versus Dereck Chisora ‘pitches the two best UK heavyweights against each other’ – Warren

9 May

Tommy Barber – London

Two British heavyweight boxers, both considered brash and both looking to bounce-back from defeat to a Klitschko, clash on Saturday, July 14 in one of the ultimate grudge fights of the year as former two-weight world champion David Haye interrupts his retirement to settle the score with London rival Dereck Chisora at the 30,000-40,000 capacity Boleyn Ground, home of West Ham United football club.

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When speculation began to gather momentum that a dust-up had been organised, it was rumoured within British broadsheet newspapers that the bout could be unlicensed due to Haye’s ambiguous status (retired) coupled with the withdrawal of Chisora’s license by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) over his notorious behaviour before, during and after his world title challenge of Vitali Klitschko’s WBC belt earlier in the year.

The event, dubbed Licensed To Thrill, will go ahead on British canvas but will be licensed by the authority in Luxembourg, as show promoter Frank Warren explained: “The fight will be sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Board with every fighter competing on the show licensed by them. The Luxembourg Board were established in 1922, seven years before the BBBoC and, unlike the self-appointed British Board, they are a government body. They’re long standing, well established members of the European Boxing Union and all the noteworthy sanctioning organisations.”

Warren, though, stated that, even though he and Chisora received little support in Germany (presumably due to the hand-wrapping incident caused by Wladimir Klitschko’s unhappiness with the way Dereck was having his hands-wrapped prior to combat, together with the infamous post-fight brawl with Haye) from the BBBoC, his decision to opt for Luxembourg licensing was not to undermine the BBBoC but to, rather, ensure his premier heavyweight continues to earn duckets. Something that had not happened as regularly as both parties would have liked because of a brace of failed attempts to fight Wladimir, in 2010/11.

“As Dereck Chisora’s boxing manager I have a duty to ensure that he earns money. Prior to February, he’d been inactive because he’d been messed around by Wladimir Klitschko, twice had fights postponed at short notice that he’d trained hard for, without being compensated. Due to a couple of stupid actions prior to the Vitali Klitschko fight, which I’ve made it clear that I don’t condone, Dereck still has a large portion of his purse withheld by the WBC.”

Following 12 rounds of glove and guts with Vitali, Chisora got involved in an altercation with Haye at a post-fight media event. Warren commented: “I think it’s been clearly established that all the shenanigans at the post fight press conference were not down to Dereck. He’s been interviewed by the police on a couple of occasions and hasn’t been charged with anything.

“It’s no secret that I’m extremely disappointed with the way that the Board Chairman Charlie Giles behaved over in Germany and how he failed to stand up for British interests there. Also, in my opinion, the manner in which the Board’s initial hearing into Dereck’s conduct was presented, was an absolute sham.”

On the Chisora versus Haye event in general, Warren remarked that the football ground will currently contain the ring and 30,000 seats but, should interest in the non-title heavyweight scrap escalate, then a further 10,000 seats could be integrated into Upton Park.

“The Boleyn Ground shall be set up for over 30,000 in the open air and, at a push, we could get up to 40,000 in there. I’d be very, very surprised if this doesn’t sell. Controversy aside, I believe the fight pitches the two best heavyweights in the UK. Chisora’s redeemed himself since his loss to Tyson Fury – a contest he just didn’t show up for – by giving Vitali Klitschko his hardest fight since Lennox Lewis nine years ago.

“He definitely did a better job than David Haye managed against the other brother [Wladimir]. I’ve long fancied Dereck over David Haye. David and his manager Adam Booth obviously will have a different view and that’s what helps make the fight so appealing.”

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