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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk

  • Fight Insight: Vitali Klitschko v Dereck Chisora

Chisora chasing an unreachable dream

Josh Williams February 17, 2012
Dereck Chisora has lost three of his last four fights - yet is preparing to face one of the finest heavyweights in recent history © PA Photos
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Vitali Klitschko, the veteran WBC heavyweight champion, has lost two fights in his decorated career - and on both occasions, he was ahead on the judges' scorecards at the moment the contest was ended.

On Saturday in Munich he will defend his title against Dereck Chisora, who has tasted defeat in two of his last three bouts. If it sounds like the 28-year-old Brit is reaching beyond his grasp, it's because he is - such is the impoverished state of world-title level heavyweight boxing, where in recent years mismatch has stacked upon mismatch, each frittering away the division's appeal.

In fairness to Chisora, after the second of those losses - against Robert Helenius last December - it was universally agreed that he fell victim to a shocking decision from the judges. But whilst he was busier and more effective than Helenius, he certainly didn't outclass him - and besides, Klitschko is in a different league entirely.

Five months before the Helenius scrap, a comically overweight Chisora, still sulking because he had twice seen Wladimir Klitschko withdraw from planned fights, bumbled into the ring against Tyson Fury. He swirled his arms around for a few rounds, ran out of energy and spluttered to a resounding points defeat that, so it seemed, left him squinting at a bleak, uncertain future.

Yet, less than a year later, here he is: the 9/1 shot putting the case forward for what would be one of the sport's greatest shocks. "It will be my workrate [that wins it]," Chisora said. "I'm going to put him under pressure all the way, from round one to round 12. I'm going to beat him with speed. No one can live with my workrate. No one."

There's no doubt Chisora has plumped for the right strategy - but then the template for how to beat a Klitschko has been known for years, yet so few have managed it. And while Chisora has shown some graceful movements in the ring throughout his 17-fight career, you couldn't confidently predict that he has the skill to regularly dart around the famed Klitschko jab, work his way to the inside and squeeze through uppercuts and punishing shots to the body - all the while eluding that pulverising right hand.

Robert Helenius beat Chisora in the Brit's most recent fight. Chisora was unlucky, but he produced little to suggest he would have the measure of Klitschko © Getty Images
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There will be people who look at the 40-year-old Klitschko, his hair flecked with grey and much of his time now devoted to politics, and suppose that he is set to suffer the sort of decline associated with ageing sportsmen in the evening of their careers. Yet that song has echoed for a while now, and there just hasn't been the evidence in the ring to support it.

Klitschko's most recent battle was against Tomasz Adamek, a sprightly ex-cruiserweight - one who's certainly sharper than Chisora - who made absolutely no impression on Klitschko. The referee was generous to leave it as late as the tenth round before ending proceedings, such was the dominance of the champion. It wasn't a decaying Klitschko - instead, it was one fizzing with focus.

Very simply, it's hard to think of a scenario in which Chisora triumphs. Maybe if Klitschko gets injured and has to pull out, as was the case against Chris Byrd, and maybe if he is cut severely, as against Lennox Lewis. Apart from that, good luck. Chisora has admitted he doesn't have the power to stop Klitschko, and if it goes 12 rounds Chisora won't be confident of getting a points decision in Munich - particularly given his recent experience against Helenius.

For Chisora, the most important factor here will be how much heart he shows in a strange land, and in front of a hostile crowd. Hearing the final bell would open doors for him, even if it means three defeats out of four; he could establish himself as a credible world-title contender with a brave - if futile - performance. And really, it's the best he can hope for.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk