One thing you can say about heavyweights Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury is they just might be perfect for each other.
Fighting on the same card, each against inferior opponents brought in as late replacements, the brash yet always entertaining British heavyweights each scored convincing victories at London’s Copper Box Arena to set up a possible summer rematch.
One thing was certain from Saturday’s card: Chisora, who fought the much more difficult opponent of the two, was clearly more impressive than the plump Fury, who weighed in at a career-high 274 pounds -- or 23 more than his April 2013 knockout of Steve Cunningham in his last bout.
Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), 30, was much closer to his peak shape and relied on his conditioning to simply outwork veteran Kevin Johnson to claim a unanimous decision (118-109 twice, 118-110). ESPN.com scored it 116-111 for Chisora.
Johnson (29-5-1, 14 KOs), 34, who lost his lone title shot to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and also dropped a decision to Fury in 2012, kept his streak alive of never having been knocked out.
“I give enough credit to Kevin Johnson, he came to survive,” Chisora said. “I tried to go for the knockout but couldn’t get it. Now we move on to the next chapter.”
As effective as Chisora was with a style predicated on lunging forward with looping right hands, he was equally as sloppy and connected to the back of the Johnson’s head on multiple occasions. But his constant pressure paid off as Chisora hurt the American to close Round 4 before flooring him in the next round on a wild right hook to the top of the head.
Fury, meanwhile, found himself in a bit of a slugfest with American club fighter Joey Abell (29-8 28 KOs). Fury took more flush shots than he likely should have from the heavy-handed southpaw, but finished the job just the same by scoring four knockdowns in a fourth-round TKO.
While the 6-foot-9 giant certainly filled his entertainment quota with an expected amount of trash talk and in-ring antics, Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), 25, failed to look all that impressive despite the showcase fight’s inevitable stoppage. In fact, the reality surrounding Fury, who has long been looked at as more of an attraction than a legitimate contender for a title, is that he hasn’t shown all that much improvement in the nearly three years since scoring his biggest win -- a unanimous decision over a then-unbeaten Chisora.
Fury outboxed Chisora on that July 2011 night in an exciting bout to hand “Del Boy” the first defeat of his career. And while Chisora will likely always remain a fringe title contender considering both the state of the division and his ability to market fights with his outrageous behavior, he has found defeat all four times he has stepped up to the highest level.
What this means is a summer rematch against each other is probably the most potentially exciting and evenly matched bout either could make in the near future.
Chisora talked after Saturday’s bout of wanting a showdown in Russia with former titlist Alexander Povetkin. Fury, meanwhile, talked in the days leading up to the fight of needing another tuneup before he would be ready -- a claim supported by the size of his waistline.
But more than likely the two will eventually find their way back into a ring against one another. And unlike most heavyweight fights these days, you can bet the result will live up to its billing.