Dereck Chisora and David Haye’s actions have left the reputation of British boxing in tatters, writes Aaron Kennedy.
British boxer Dereck Chisora has been fined $100,000 from a $500,000 purse by the German Professional Boxing Federation (BDB) over numerous incidents surrounding last week’s World Title bout with Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko. The bosses of British boxing are also vowing to discipline Chisora following his unacceptable punch-up with Haye in Munich. His antics have further damaged the already tarnished reputation of British boxing, and have led the Klitschkos to state that they will never fight British fighters again.
The controversy surrounding Chisora arose at the pre-fight weigh-in for his World Title opportunity. After weighing in at 17 stone 3lbs, the eccentric London native turned up the heat. Chisora, donning a Union Jack bandana over his face, squared up to Klitschko and slapped him with force to the left side of his face. Chisora is quoted as saying “I ain’t come here to play games, I come here to fight.” Even his own trainer, Don Charles, labelled the slap as “unacceptable”. Chisora also spat water at Wladimir Klitschko inside the ring shortly before the fight began.
Just hours after losing his WBC World Heavyweight bout with Vitali Klitschko on February 18th, a brawl erupted between Chisora and his fellow countryman David Haye in the middle of a press conference. The Zimbabwean-born boxer also threatened to shoot Haye. This led the German authorities to take him in for questioning on the matter, but he was later released without charge.
The German Boxing Federation is recommending that the WBC and British Boxing Board of Control also fines Chisora, as well as issuing him with a lifetime ban. The British Boxing Board of Control has confirmed that Chisora may face the possibility of a lifetime ban, and have set March 14th as the date of his hearing. Chisora has since apologised in a statement released earlier last week, and said that he “let my family, my team, and worst of all, the sport I love, down.”
The 15-3 fighter is not new to scandal. On May 22, 2009 at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, Chisora was suspended for four months for biting Paul Butlin during the fifth round of their bout. He was also fined £2,500 for his misconduct. In November 2010, Chisora was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend; he narrowly escaped a jail sentence, and was ordered to pay £2,000 and take part in 150 hours of community service. The court was also informed that the fighter had previous convictions for public order offences, assaulting a police officer, and possession of an offensive weapon.
Robert Smith, the secretary for the British Board of Control, believes Haye and Chisora have ruined their chances of fighting the Klitschko brothers again for the world titles. He stated, “It was just crazy and unacceptable. It’s a shameful night for British boxing and they should be ashamed of themselves.” Due to Haye’s recent retirement from the sport, he no longer holds a license, which means the Board cannot deal with him.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Klitschkos were so shocked by the disconcerting scenes in Munich that they have vowed never to fight a British boxer again. The Klitschkos’ manager, Bernd Boente, said any deal with Haye to fight Vitali is highly improbable, “With the bad experience we’ve had with British fighters we will now look for other countries. Wladamir will never fight Haye again and RTL (German TV) will never accept that fight again.”
It is evident from the reaction of the Klitschkos and the foreign press that British boxers are becoming quite antagonistic. This animal-like behavior has no part in the sport, but has recently occurred more frequently. For example, in the build-up to David Haye’s heavyweight unification fight for the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, IBO and Ring titles against Vladimir Klitschko, Haye wore a t-shirt depicting him holding the heads of the Klitschko brothers while standing atop their decapitated bodies.
More recently, a scandal involving WBC Champion, Carl Froch looks set to rock British boxing. It has been reported that Frock admitted to delaying his knockout victory over South African Ruben Groenewald so that family and friends could make money from betting on the bout. It is up to the British Boxing Board of Control to stamp out the disappointing behavior of their boxers. These incidents are just another blotch on the record of British boxing, and on that of the increasingly venomous world of British sport.