Dan Rafael: Billy Joe Saunders

Fury, Chisora could meet again

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
Fury-ChisoraMartin McNeil/Getty ImagesTyson Fury topped Dereck Chisora in 2011, and the hope is that the heavies will go at it again in June.

In July 2011, Tyson Fury outpointed an out-of-shape Dereck Chisora in a crowd-pleasing fight between two of Great Britain's best heavyweights. If things work out, the world contenders could be on their way to a June rematch.

Chisora (19-4, 13 KOs) has won four fights in a row since a knockout loss to former world titleholder David Haye in July 2012, and he is aiming to win a fifth consecutive fight on Feb. 15 when he defends his European title against Ukraine's Andriy Rudenko (24-0, 16 KOs) at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Fury (21-0, 15 KOs), whose career has been stalled since last April because Haye pulled out twice from their scheduled fight, could appear on the card as well, with the idea being that if he and Chisora both win they could meet again in what would be a big fight.

Frank Warren, Chisora's promoter, announced on Wednesday that he had come to an agreement with Fury promoter Mick Hennessy for Fury to be on the card.

"The plan is for both of them to come through their fights on the night and then the pair will meet in a massive rematch in June," Warren said. "Because it's the biggest fight out there for them and it's a fight that the public want to see, the only place for it to happen would be a football stadium, a real summer extravaganza between the big men of British boxing, before the World Cup. Tyson beat Dereck a few years ago, and since then both of them have come on. Tyson has done fantastic, winning both here and abroad, and has marked himself as one of the world's most exciting heavyweights.

"Dereck's performances have been spot-on recently, his weight is right and so is his attitude and focus, and he's a real handful for any heavyweight out there. I'm already excited by it. Chisora versus Fury is the biggest fight out there and it could certainly be a world title eliminator. But plans can be upset, though. Chisora has a by-no-means-easy fight against a hard and undefeated Ukrainian in Rudenko."

Hennessy said that although the plan is being considered, it isn't set just yet, contrary to Warren's announcement.

"We have had a verbal offer from [British boxing subscription network] BoxNation for Tyson to appear on three of their shows, but as yet have not received any contract to look at and consider," Hennessy said. "Until something is agreed in writing and signed into, myself, [Fury manager and uncle] Peter Fury and Tyson are still keeping our options open. We were told it would be 48 hours before we even receive any paperwork to look at, and we are still awaiting any such communication.”

Super middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders was supposed to appear on the Feb. 15 card to defend his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles, but he has withdrawn because a hand injury suffered in his previous fight is still not healed.

Saunders, Chisora at Copper again

September, 30, 2013
Billy Joe Saunders, the British and Commonwealth middleweight champion, and heavyweight Dereck Chisora co-headlined the first pro boxing card at the Copper Box Arena -- a facility used for the 2012 London Olympics -- on Sept. 21.

The card was a success, with Saunders retaining his belts by decision against John Ryder and Chisora stopping Edmund Gerber in the fifth round to win the vacant European title.

Saunders and Chisora will be back to co-headline the second card at the arena on Nov. 30. Neither fighter has an opponent yet, but both will defend their belts.

Chisora (18-4, 12 KOs), who lost a world title challenge by lopsided decision to Vitali Klitschko in 2012, hopes to use his European title to help him land either a rematch with titleholder Vitali (unlikely) or a shot at world champion Wladimir Klitschko (not out of the realm of possibility). Wladimir, of course, would have to retain his title against Alexander Povetkin on Saturday in Moscow, where Chisora plans to be ringside.

"I said that I would be destroying these guys from now on, and that's what I've done in my last two fights," Chisora said. "The fans and media know what I can do. This is the new 'Del Boy' and this time I'm on the road to win the world heavyweight title. I love fighting at the Copper Box Arena, and this is my new home. Whoever I have in front of me on Nov. 30 is getting destroyed."

Saunders (19-0, 10 KOs) has won all three of his fights so far in 2013 and hopes to close out the year 4-0 with another defense.

"To say this year has been the best of my career would be an understatement," said Saunders, a 2008 British Olympian. "I couldn't have wished for a better one, but it's only going to get better and better. I'm producing the best boxing of my career. I've defended my British and Commonwealth titles, I've beaten two unbeaten fighters in [Gary] O'Sullivan and Ryder. I'm still unbeaten and I've won the Best Young Boxer of the Year award [from the British writers]. But the year isn't over yet."

Cut forces Groves to withdraw

August, 2, 2012
The first thing I thought of when I saw super middleweight contender George Groves of England suffer a really nasty cut over his right eye in his fight against Francisco Sierra last Saturday was that there was no chance he would be able to go forward with another fight he had already scheduled.

Sure enough, the cut caused Groves, the British and Commonwealth champion, to withdraw on Thursday from a Sept. 14 title defense against Kenny Anderson.

Although Groves (15-0, 12 KOs) stopped Seirra in the sixth round of an exciting fight, Groves' eye got busted open in the third round of the Showtime Extreme-televised bout on the Robert Guerrero-Selcuk Aydin undercard. Besides gaining American exposure, Groves was also using the fight as a tuneup for his rematch with Anderson.

The fight was supposed to headline promoter Frank Warren's show at Wembley Arena. But because of Groves' withdrawal, Warren announced that the show would move to the smaller York Hall in London. Other than Groves' departure, the card will remain intact. Moving up from the undercard to top the bill, as they say in England, will be 2008 British Olympian Billy Joe Saunders (14-0, 9 KOs), who will make the second defense of his Commonwealth middleweight title against Jarrod Fletcher (12-0, 7 KOs) of Australia.

Warren also announced that tickets that already have been purchased for Wembley Arena can be exchanged for the new venue.