By Tadious Manyepo
Derek Chisora’s father, Paul, says his son gave his opponent Oleksandr Usyk too much room when he eventually lost via a unanimous decision in a heavyweight bout at the Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
Paul, together with friends and relatives, some from his rural home in Shamva, were rooting the Zimbabwe-born British fights, at his home in Mbare.
And Chisora, who left the country as a 16-year-old 20 years ago, appeared in control of the duel at the start but them allowed unbeaten Ukrainian to find his range and take the fight on points.
Paul was convinced his son did enough to win but the judges decided otherwise.
There was deafening silence among those who gathered at the Mbare house when the announcement came through.
Paul said something kept telling him his son would lose if he failed to put together a knockout punch.
The Ukrainian remained the mandatory challenger of Antony Joshua’s WBO title with the win.
“I remain a proud father. Derek bossed his opponent for the better part of the 12-round bout but he couldn’t finish him off within distance,’’ said Paul.
“I was praying hard that he knocks him out before the final bell.
“The match was a bit tight but I will forever feel that Derek deserved to come out of it with something.
“I am sure even the winner (Usyk) himself feels it but such is the game. Derek should not lose heart.
“He gave it his all and only faltered by not finishing off his opponent within the distance.
“The final decision from the judges is what matters, at the end of the day so, I think, Derek should not lose heart.
“He showed that he is made of steel and I am ever proud of him. I know we were in it with a chance but, unfortunately, we lost.”
Paul had hoped that his son would deliver a perfect birthday present for him but the night ended in tears.
Chisora’s father turned 62 on Saturday, the day his son fought the 33-year-old Ukrainian.
“I was expecting a huge birthday present, yes. I was hoping my boy would win but it wasn’t to be.
“I know the world watched and everyone knows Derek deserved to come out with something but, hey, it wasn’t his day.
“I wanted him to knock the opponent out early.”
Reaction To The Fight
British heavyweight Dillian Whyte on BBC Radio 5 Live:
“Usyk has pedigree and is a good mover so of course he can be a force. I don’t see anything where I think ‘wow this is crazy’. He’s a good mover that’s it.
“I don’t know what advice Chisora was being given. I don’t know what was going on.’’
BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello:
“I made Usyk an emphatic winner based on his much cleaner punching. Chisora started well and had success with his plan of sticking close to Usyk in the early rounds. By halfway though, Chisora’s aggression had waned and became spirited rather than effective, as Usyk took a lot of the punches on the arms and gloves.
“Dillian Whyte joined us for the fight commentary and dismissed Usyk as a force in the heavyweight division. But being the type of character he is, Usyk will have learned from this experience, his first real test as a heavyweight.”
Former world super-middleweight champion George Groves
“I had it 9-3 Usyk. Felt he took his foot off the gas when he didn’t get Chisora out of there after the big seventh round. Waited for the last onslaught from Chisora to come and pass but didn’t fancy pushing for an early finish. Great win nonetheless.’’
Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison
“Good, good fight – Derek fought his heart out and did everything he could to break Usyk down … a classic boxer versus the slugger match-up but the right man won. But salute to Chisora for digging deep and having such a solid performance.’’
Former world-title challenger Paul Smith Jr:
“Had it 9-3 Usyk. Chisora unfortunately did what a lot of fighters do against elite fighters and started in fourth gear. Brave and very good effort from Chisora, tough as old boots and moves great for a heavyweight.’’ The Herald/BBC Sports