Dereck Chisora is back in the ring tomorrow and yesterday he stole all the headlines after he triggered a £20 000 bet between promoters Eddie Heard and David Higgins who are promoting the main heavyweight bout between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker at the O2 Arena.
New Zealander Parker was beaten in a unification clash by Anthony Joshua in March, while Brixton’s Whyte has rebuilt his career following a knockout defeat to the IBF, WBA and WBO king back in December 2015.
Chisora fights Carlos Takam in the undercard.
But, the Zimbabwe-born heavyweight stole all the headlines at the press conference yesterday as he challenged the two fighters’ promoters to put their own money on the line in backing their boxers.
Hearn and Higgins were then forced to back their fighters to the tune of £20 000 ahead of this weekend’s heavyweight showdown.
Victory for either Parker or Whyte will put the winner in pole position for a shot at world champions Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
The charismatic Higgins tipped the clash to be ‘’fight of the year’’ and said: ‘’Parker has to fight Dillian and the officials but I think he’s going to do it and he’s going to finish Dillian by knockout in round seven . . . I don’t think Dillian is anywhere as good as Anthony Joshua.’’
Chisora said even if Whyte was his “worst enemy” he would still support the fellow Londoner in this weekend’s fight against Parker.
A long-running feud between Chisora and Whyte has continued after the Brixton man claimed a disputed points win in 2016, but the Finchley fighter has surprisingly given his backing to ‘The Body Snatcher.’
“I want Whyte to win,” Chisora exclusively told Sky Sports. “He’s a Londoner. If I can’t support a Londoner on a day like this, what am I doing?
“Nothing’s changed. It’s just the god honest truth.
“Even if I hate him, my worst enemy, but if he’s from the same neighbourhood, us Londoners have to stick together when we’re in times like this.”
Chisora admits he is facing a brutal encounter with Takam, who proved his bravery in a 10th-round stoppage loss to Anthony Joshua, while the France-based Cameroonian has also gone the distance in a points loss to Parker.
But the 34-year-old believes Whyte will need to produce a calmer, more composed performance against Parker.
“You know me already. War, war, war,” said Chisora.
“I know my coach will be like ‘please Del,’ but listen, I’m a gladiator, I’m a fighter, so I have to go to war. I can’t help it.
“He’s [Whyte] a Londoner, I want the Londoner to win, but he’s boxing a boxer here, so he has to adapt to this guy.
“From what I know of Parker, he’s got good hand speed. He’s fast and Dillian is going to get hit, and he’s going to try and prove something, because it’s his home crowd.
“I see this fight going 12 rounds. There won’t be knockout in this fight. Somebody will be losing by points.”
Parker is the slight favourite with the bookmakers and has vowed to ‘do damage’ to Whyte after being accused by his opponent’s trainer Mark Tibbs of ‘pulling wool over the eyes of fight fans’ in his defeat by Joshua.
‘’I’m in great shape, there’s no excuses here. Before I used to come into fights and say hopefully I’ll have a good fight, catch him clean and get the knockout. There’s no hopefully here, I’m here to do damage,’’ the New Zealander said.
‘’I have the challenger’s mentality, motivation, hunger and drive… he thinks I can’t go to war. Let’s wait and see.’’
Parker and Whyte have both lost only once as a professional, surrendering their unbeaten records to Joshua. — SkySports/Mailonline