Chisora Ready to Fill the Void Left by Haye

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Dereck Chisora is eyeing a world title shot in 2014

Dereck Chisora believes 2014 will be the year that he announces himself on the world stage after defending his WBO International title by knocking out Ondrej Pala in round three at the Copper Box Arena last night.

With his record now at 19 wins, the 29-year-old is ready to put himself in the shop window for a world title fight next year.

‘2014 is going to be a harder year for me but we are going to get ourselves on the podium and we are going to try and push for it,’ he said.

Eight months ago, the Finchley fighter was without a boxing licence and with his future as a boxer up in the air. Fast-forward to the present day, and he is within touching distance of a crack at a world title.

Chisora, who took a clip to the chin prior to the third round stoppage, maintains that he never gave up hope of becoming a force again in the heavyweight division.

‘It was hard after the first fight [a win against Hector Alfredo Avila at Wembley in April]. I came out of the ring not feeling great. I knew it was up to me to lose more weight in order to keep fighting and I’ve started to enjoy the training.

With all thoughts now turning to the identity of Chisora’s next opponent, Promoter Frank Warren cites the Klitschko brothers as being on his wish list. Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have both been touted by his cabal as potential fights in 2014.

‘He’ll go to the number two spot after this fight for the WBO,’ Warren said.

Unlike others in the division, Chisora is not one to call out fighters to take him on – rather he is happy to let his hands do the talking.

“We are announcing a match-up for February 8. By the end of December, we will give you an opponent,” he said.

That bout is set to be against another challenger up on the ranks, but another match-up with Tyson Fury is one that the Harare-born heavyweight doesn’t believe is too far off – especially given the public interest.

“That’s a fight that people would like to watch at the Copper Box. It depends on whether he wants to fight. He’s a bit stressed at the moment [after his fight was cancelled against David Haye]. We’ll see what happens in the future,” Chisora said.

Despite his slimmer appearance, the orthodox big-hitter was far from his fluent best in the opening two rounds last night, as his Czech opponent experienced success with two heavy left hooks that had him leading the contest going into the decisive third.

“I need to stop taking those shots, but everyone comes to fight. It’s a heavyweight game we’re in so there are always big punches. One clip on the chin is a good night. It all depends on how you come back. When I recovered, he got knocked out,” he said.

Given the acrimony and argument generated by that glass-shattering brawl with David Haye in February 2012, and subsequent poor performances, Del Boy has had to rebuild his reputation both in and outside the ring.

‘Everybody likes me!’ Chisora joked. ‘Cheering or booing, I don’t mind – so long as they are paying to come and watch me.’

Difference in weight and attitude has seen an improvement in his game, and he is reaping the rewards; Chisora’s run of four wins in a row marks the start of his road to redemption following three successive defeats in bouts to David Haye, Vitali Klitschko and Robert Helenius.

Promoter Warren claimed after his latest triumph that Chisora is now the most successful and most backed heavyweight in the country.

High praise indeed; so does Chisora now have an abundant amount of self-esteem?

“You never convince yourself how good you are because there’s always somebody out there trying to beat you. I just to keep focused and train hard, and jump one hurdle at a time. The only person I’m afraid of is myself,” he said.

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