A pair of British heavyweight contenders, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora, will square off for the opportunity to fight Wladimir Klitschko for his WBO heavyweight championship, it has been confirmed.
Promoter Frank Warren announced at a news conference on Monday that Fury and Chisora will meet at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester, England on July 26. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for Klitschko.
"This is the big one for both men," Warren said in announcing the fight on Monday. "It's the fight for the right to face Klitschko for the world title and one of the best to be made on the world scene.
"The winner will become the No. 1 challenger to Klitschko and he'll be forced to face whoever that man is, Chisora or Fury. They are at the top of their game right now, and with everything on the line they will give it their all."
With the retirement of Vitali Klitschko, the WBC champion, last December, things are loosening up in the heavyweight division. His younger brother, Wladimir, still has a vice grip on three of the major heavyweight titles. But for the first time since the brothers put the heavyweight titles on lock down, there is some electricity coursing through the division.
Americans Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne will meet for Vitali Klitschko’s vacant title in May. And Deontay Wilder, the most exciting American contender on the horizon, scored a first round KO against veteran Malik Scott in Puerto Rico this past weekend. Wilder, who has 31 KOs in 31 fights, will likely move up to the WBC No. 1 contender spot with the victory.
Now you have two British titans – the 6-foot-2, 240 pound Chisora and the 6-foot-9, 250 pound Fury – fighting for the opportunity to fight Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO crown.
As if that’s not enough to motivate the two men, Chisora has the opportunity to avenge a loss Fury three years ago. Fury battered Chisora, who entered the match out of shape, and came away with a dominant 12-round decision. It was Chisora’s first loss of his career and Fury picked up the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.
Both men set the stage for the rematch by pounding out decisive victories in their last matches. Warren laid the groundwork for the rematch by having them fight on the same card.
Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs) beat American Kevin Johnson in a one-sided decision in the main event of the show. And Fury (22-0, 16 KOs) stopped American Joey Abell on a fourth round knockout.
Because of the history between Chisora and Fury, the build up to this fight should be full of fireworks. They began at the press conference by lobbing verbal grenades at each other.
"I'll give it to him, Tubby (Chisora) has shifted that spare tire around his waist and got himself into shape, but he can't build muscle on his chin and when I land on it he'll be knocked clean out,’’ Fury said.
“Get one thing clear: I'm getting the world title fight against Klitschko. I'm the best in Britain and you'll see why on July 26."
Fury has won seven straight matches since that fight against Chisora. He survived being knocked down and badly hurt in the second round by American Steve Cunningham and went on to KO Cunningham in the seventh round.
Chisora is an excitable sort. He slapped Vitali Klitschko during the stare down at their weigh in for their title match in Germany in 2012. Klitschko made him pay in the fight by smashing him around before easily winning a unanimous decision. Chisora also kissed an opponent after a weighin and bit another opponent during a fight.
Chisora went into something of a tail spin after that loss to Klitschko. In the match after the Klitschko loss, Chisora was KO’ed in the fifth round by fellow Brit David Haye. He has rebounded since, winning his last five consecutive bouts and taking the European title.
"Tyson Fury is in my way and I'm going to smash him out of it and get the world title fight against Klitschko," Chisora said. "Yes, Fury beat me last time, but that was at the worst time of my career. You're seeing the best of me now and there's no way Fury can deal with that."
The biggest difference between the first match and the rematch is that Fury has progressed to a world class calibre fighter and is hungry for that championship match against Klitschko. Chisora has already had a crack at the title and came up short. But he doesn’t have any love for Fury, which should add to the heat once they hit the ring.
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