Does Derek Chisora Have What It Takes To Upset Vitali Klitschko?

Could brave Brit 'Del Boy' do the unthinkable and defeat ''Dr. Ironfist''?

This week in London we saw the first of  two press conferences promoting the January 18 WBC heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine and London's very own Derek 'Del Boy' Chisora at the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany. 

It was a good-natured affair hosted by Chisora's manager and the bout's co-promoter Frank Warren. Chisora normally has no qualms when it comes to trash-talking about a rival, but clearly has immense respect for Vitali Klitschko and his accomplishments in the ring, keeping his banter to the usual taunts that ''the Klitschko brothers have killed heavyweight boxing'', and also remarked that he would have given his rival a kiss had he shaved for the presser!

For his part, Klitschko was also respectful of Chisora, declaring that he believed the Brit clearly beat WBO number one contender Robert Helenius last December, despite not receiving the judges verdict, and that he saw Chisora as a genuine threat. Klitschko also spoke about his position as the 'Grand Old Man' of heavyweight boxing, although he insisted he was in incredible shape both physically and mentally, and felt 25 instead of forty.

Of course, the big question on all UK fight fans lips is can 28-year-old Chisora [15-2, 9 KOs] do the unthinkable and defeat ''Dr. Eisenfaust'' [Ironfist], a man who is yet to be beaten outside of an injury in 15 years and 55 fights?

A shade over 6'1", and at a top 'in-shape' fighting weight of around 243 lbs [17 stone 5 pounds], Chisora is a bulky fighter with the body of a slugger and the brain of a boxer. He can punch, but is not a devastating hitter, and in his two standout stoppage wins over Sam Sexton, he couldn't put his opponent on the canvas. 

Chisora blew away a badly faded Danny Williams in two rounds back in May 2010 for the British heavyweight title, but in reality Big Danny already had one eye on a proposed job as a celebrity bodyguard at that point, and put up only feeble resistance.

In his most recent fight against the 6'7" Robert Helenius in Finland, Chisora went to war, applying constant pressure from the first round to the last and attacking Helenius' body with a steady barrage of hooks. The tactic worked well, and although the Finn had his own success with his left jab and right cross, Chisora looked to have done more than enough to secure victory, and the unanimous decision in favor of Helenius was almost universally slated.

In his fight against Tyson Fury for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in July 2011, Chisora came in at a career-high 261 pounds, no doubt believing he would blow away his 22 year old opponent in a couple of rounds. However Fury laid down his marker in round one by stunning Chisora with his massive left jab and following up with his booming straight right. Chisora found it hard to make any impression at long-range against the 6'9" Fury, and when he got in close his attacks were smothered. He lost a lopsided unanimous decision.

Two fights against fighters of a similar stature to the reigning WBC champ, and with two very different outcomes. 

How will Chisora approach his fight with Vitali Klitschko? The Ukrainian stands 6'8" tall and weighs in at a rock-hard 245 lbs. While most heavyweights including Chisora are happy to carry a layer of body fat into the ring, Klitschko has the same BMI [body mass index] as a welterweight.

Although unconventional in his fighting style, Klitschko [43-2, 40 KOs] moves well, and both his hand and foot speed belong to that of a man 10 years younger. Like Carl Froch and Sergio Martinez, Klitschko likes fighting with his hands down by his sides, throwing his punches in an upward trajectory which makes them extremely difficult for an opponent to track, and defend against.

Klitschko's main defensive tactic is to simply lean away from punches. Because of his stance, when he does this it is virtually impossible to hit him. On the occasions when his defense is breached, for example in his 2003 WBC heavyweight title fight against Lennox Lewis, Klitschko's chin looks to be of the highest caliber.

Despite his age, Klitschko throws a lot of punches per-round. In seven fights since returning to the ring in 2008, Klitschko has not lost a single round unanimously. Last time out, he hammered Poland's Tomasz Adamek to defeat in 10 rounds in Adamek's own backyard, not losing a single round on any judges scorecard.

Klitschko has lost twice in his career, to Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis. He retired after nine rounds in a WBO heavyweight title fight against American Byrd in 2000 because of a severe shoulder injury. He was a mile in front on points against the light hitting Byrd with just three rounds to go. 
Although he was derided at the time and described as a ''quitter'', in reality Klitschko believed that the injury to his shoulder was so severe, it was potentially career threatening, and therefore took what he believed to be the intelligent option. 

Despite being ahead on all three judges scorecards in his heavyweight title bout against Lewis, a severe gash above his right eye forced the referee to halt the action after the sixth round. Klitschko had absorbed many block-buster right hands from Lewis flush on the jaw, and at the time of the stoppage looked to have the champion on the verge of defeat.

So far, no opponent has been good enough to outpoint or KO  Vitali Klitschko, and in both of his ''losses'' he was winning the fights upon termination. He has never been knocked down as a professional. Yet another factor to take into consideration is that Klitschko has the highest knockout percentage of any heavyweight champion in boxing history.

So how does ''Dell Boy'' do the unthinkable and become the first fighter to genuinely defeat the reigning WBC heavyweight champion? If he employs the same bulldozing tactics he used vs Helenius against Big Vitali, he will be wide open for those booming punches launched from the champ's kneecaps. If he stays on the outside and attempts to box, he will surely be comprehensively outworked by the fittest man in the division.

In truth, Chisora has little chance of beating Klitschko by conventional means, but he could still nevertheless emerge victorious. Klitschko spent what may have been his peak years out of the ring due to a series of chronic back and knee injuries. After his December 2004 eight round TKO over Britain's Danny Williams in a WBC heavyweight title defense, Klitschko was forced to withdraw from a scheduled bout against American Hasim Rahman because of a severe knee injury. 

The bout was rescheduled several times, but the Ukrainian could not shake off his injuries, and was forced to vacate his world title. He was inactive for almost four years, and had several operations to his knee and back. He returned to the ring and regained his WBC heavyweight title with  an eighth round TKO over Samuel Peter in October 2008.

Could one of his old injuries suddenly resurface during the fight? Without any doubt, the older a fighter gets, the more prone he is to getting injured. Witness the recent Bernard Hopkins Chad Dawson WBC light heavyweight title fight. Dawson tossed Hopkins onto the canvas in a way we have seen many times before in boxing. However, what looked to have been a minor tumble resulted in Hopkins sustaining severe shoulder damage and being unable to continue.

Chisora must attempt to rough up Klitschko by getting in close and using his bulk and strength to knock him out of his stride, while avoiding getting tagged as he closes the gap. 

Of course, this is easier said than done, and we saw what happened to Cuban Odlanier Solis last March, when he attempted to take the fight to Klitschko. Solis is physically similar to Chisora, and he had success early in the first round, but as his confidence grew, he was tagged by a right uppercut as he launched into an attack. He went down heavily, spraining his ankle in the process, and was unable to continue. 

The bout quite rightly went into the record books as a first round KO for Klitschko.

Chisora, despite his limited experience, has proved to be a genuine world-class fighter, with a sturdy chin, fast hands, good stamina and a solid punch. Whether those tools will be enough to dislodge a fighter who seems destined for boxing's Hall of Frame remains to be seen.

Big Fight Odds: Vitali Klitschko 1/16, Derek Chisora 7/1 bet365
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Does Derek Chisora Have What It Takes To Upset Vitali Klitschko?

Could brave Brit 'Del Boy' do the unthinkable and defeat ''Dr. Ironfist''?

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