Former world title challenger Dereck Chisora has rubbished claims that he was close to retiring as he returns to the ring this weekend when he takes on Georgian’s Beqa Lobjanidze (13-3, 10 KOs) at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
“Retire?! How old do you think I am? I’m just 31, just starting out,” declared Chisora. “I never announced my retirement. I’ve a long, long time left. British boxing needs me back!”
The former British, Commonwealth and European Champion (20-5, 13 KOs) gets back in the ring on Friday after an eight month break from the ring. Last time out the Zimbabwe-born fighter was on the receiving end of a beating from Tyson Fury, ending in a tenth round stoppage, a fight that set up Fury’s world title bid against Wladimir Kiltschko this October. (Tickets for Kiltchko vs Fury are on sale now, get yours here)
It was Chisora’s fifth loss – and second to Fury – in his 25 fight career since turning over eight years ago and one that many boxing observers expected to be his last.
“Look, Tyson thumbed me in the first round, then thumbed me in the third round. My eye closed and I couldn’t see. Trust me, in time, Tyson and me are gonna bump it again. ‘Del Boy’s’ a long way from finished.”
“My goals now are exactly the same as they were when I first started out as a pro; to be in great fights against other great fighters. I’m an entertainer, I deliver the fans what they want. I create a jolly!”
Chisora’s recent absence from the spotlight may have caused premature speculation about him throwing in the towel, but he insisted that he has been putting the hard work in behind the scenes.
“I’ve passed most of the last eight months at the gym, training, training, training, man, getting ready to come back,” he says.
“I’ve got a new set-up, a new trainer in Gary Innes and, for now, I’m training at a gym in St Pancras. I’ve got my mojo back and I’ve been learning lots of great new stuff. I can’t wait to demonstrate my skills to the public.”
New trainer Innes, a former amateur boxer and ex kick-boxer who has previously worked with Dean Francis, Ossie Duran, Leon Williams and Pele Reid, has been busy attempting to hone Chisora’s skills, both inside and out of the square circle, hoping that natural talent, combined with psychological calm will be the perfect combo to catapult Del-Boy from contender to champion again.
“Trust me, he still really wants to fight,” said Innes. “Some can fight but don’t want to. Others can’t fight but really want to. Dereck has both the ability and the desire. His mindset is good. He’s really enjoying his boxing at the moment.”
The ‘Friday Night Lights’ card will also include British middleweight contender Billy Joe Saunders (21-0, 11 KOs), who has a world title fight against Andy Lee scheduled for Sept. 19 in Limerick, Ireland but will go through with a scheduled 10-round tune-up fight against France’s Yoann Bloyer (17-27-2, 3 KOs), who is coming into the bout off a victory. (Tickets for Lee vs Saunders are on sale now, get yours here)