Watch: Dillian Whyte knocks out Dereck Chisora in brutal fashion to set up rematch with Anthony Joshua
Two years on and Dereck Chisora returned to the ring renewed as a man of God, rebranded by David Haye as ‘WAR’, but ultimately fell to a kamikaze-esque end as Dillian Whyte knocked him out cold with a macabre left-hook in the eleventh round.
Chisora was admittedly more chiselled but the flight path stayed irreversibly true to his nature. A little bit by ability, but moreover by pride and primal instinct, winging in those old uncultivated hooks through heavy gasps for air, forgoing a craven slipstream of straight punches all the while. Again, it wasn’t enough enough to defy his more measured and youthful opponent.
The aged Tottenham heavyweight did start faster this time though thanks to that slimlined physique, perhaps encouraged too by the acrimony of being cruelly edged out by the judges last time. Right from the opening bell Chisora marched and mauled his way forward, successfully backing Whyte up onto the ropes, nullifying his opponent’s jab and chipping away to the body.
But even then, just three minutes into the fight, a cautionary reminder of what was to come came from the fresher Whyte in the corner, countering Chisora with a sharp right-hand which caused his nemesis to keel over on the top rope in a momentary daze after the bell.
The well-inebriated O2 Arena buckled in for an encore which surpassed even the original thanks to its conclusive end. Game plans were quickly torn to a cinder and corner advice cast on deaf ears. This was simply two Cruiser Mark Tank issue men advancing on a deadset course to ossify each other’s armoury until nothing remained of his opponent but pure flotsam.
It was boxing at its most crude yet alluring, noble yet nauseating, as the pair stole chunks from each other. Chisora continued to attack with reckless intent after surviving that early wobble, suffocating the space between the two.
Roared on by the partisan crowd, the 34-year-old seemed able to read his rival’s intentions before they had even registered, racking up rounds, and continuing the rip-roaring assail on Whyte’s abdomen over the middle rounds.
Yet as the fight ground down into a battle of attrition, soon doubts prevailed as to whether Chisora’s gears could match his mind any longer, or if his gasket had indeed been blown by the early insurgency. Whyte prowled with unfamiliar patience, stalking as he sensed his opponent steadily wilting.
Whyte’s imposing advantage in size and strength - despite weighing just seven ounces more than his opponent – became increasingly apparent as the tempo dipped and the fight became scrappier. Chisora was deducted a point in the eighth round for persistent fouling as his punch power began to peter out, where a breathless ninth and tenth to follow saw Whyte peg back a couple more points.
The Brixton-based heavyweight started to take a stranglehold on his wheezing opponent, who was then controversially deducted a second point for an errant elbow in the eleventh round. Suddenly, going blindly in search of what Chisora must have though was a necessary knockout – actually he was up on two of the judges’ cards – there came the blast of desperation which brought his downfall.
In the midsts of a wild exchange, as the pair both drew hooks from their holsters, Whyte was the faster to the duel, blindsiding Chisora with an eye-watering left-hook which sucked all the volume from the raucous arena. Chisora was unconscious long before his head cannoned against the canvas as the doctors rushed into the ring.
“I was a bit worried for him,” Whyte said afterwards of the knockout. “He’s got a family as well. What a tough man, a brave man, to keep coming back from defeat and rising to the top.
“I hurt him in the first round and I thought relax,” he continued. “I knew it would come. He kept on making the same mistake, bobbing and weaving. That was the money shot right there, I will always land it at some point. I’m a warrior, I want a scrap but I was pacing myself, I knew it was gonna come. I’m No1 baby, let’s go”
Sometimes it takes a great rivalry to define a career in boxing and as Whyte celebrated the standout of his, unfortunately for Chisora his own remains one defined by its losses - twice to Tyson Fury, once to David Haye and Vitali Klitschko, and now twice to Whyte. He is a seismic samaritan to British boxing, serenaded on his way in and out of the ring, the clear favourite to fans at the 02, the vicissitudes from rebel to romantic conquered. There is nothing more he can achieve and it would seem an appropriate time to draw the curtain on his career for the sake of his own sensibilities – even if he was quick in the instance to dismiss the idea afterwards.
Whyte meanwhile marches on in much the same position as he was, but for a bigger bulge in his bank account, as he continues to chase redemption against Anthony Joshua. Only once he has that chance can he repaint the picture of himself draped over the bottom rope like a tangerine peel in December 2015 and prove that he is in fact of a finer ilk than tonight’s felled foe. Whether that opportunity will come on 13 April at Wembley remains to be seen, but goodness knows after overcoming 23 gruelling rounds with Chisora he undoubtedly deserves it.