Boxer faces assault charge after post-match brawl

Derek Chisora training for a fight. He is now in trouble for aggression outside the ring © Getty Images

British heavyweight champion Dereck Chisora is facing legal action after a dramatic press-conference punch-up with rival David Haye. Commentators say the pair are a disgrace to boxing.

Even at 17 stone, British heavyweight Dereck Chisora was dwarfed by his huge opponent, the world champion Vitali Klitschko – a 40-year-old veteran from the Ukraine.

Nicknamed ‘Dr Ironfist’, Klitschko had not been defeated in his last 11 matches when he met Chisora. Nine times out of ten, his opponents end up unconscious on the floor of the ring, giving him the highest knockout rate in boxing history.

As soon as the fight began, Chisora faced a relentless assault of right hooks and jabs. Klitscho’s huge fists kept slamming forward with murderous power like a pair of battering rams. In the third round, a Klitschko uppercut made the Englishman totter. In the seventh, a downwards hook almost forced him to his knees.

But, driven by some defiant instinct, Chisora – though bruised and bleeding – battled on for 12 furious rounds before Klitschko was declared the winner on points. Despite the loss, commentators all agreed: Chisora had shown admirable reserves of ‘heart’ and plenty of ‘fighting spirit’.

Later that evening, the same fighting spirit that earned him praise in the ring led to him being branded a disgrace to the sport of boxing.

At the post-match press conference, another boxer, David Haye, called Chisora ‘a loser’. It was a tame insult, and one which Chisora could have laughed off. Instead, the offended fighter stepped into the crowd and squared up to his loud-mouthed rival.

Suddenly, to the astonishment of the assembled reporters, the confrontation became a full-scale brawl. Punches flew. Haye brandished a camera tripod. A bystander was left bleeding from a nasty head wound. Chisora shouted and swore, threatening to ‘physically burn’ his opponent and saying ‘I’m going to shoot you.’

The outburst destroyed any shreds of respect Dereck Chisora had earned through his courage in the ring. Even before the fight, he had attracted harsh personal criticism for hitting Klitschko with a surprise slap when they met for the official weigh-in. Now, boxing authorities say he has brought the whole sport into disrepute.

A cool head

Critics are already launching some jabs of their own. What does anyone expect to happen, they wonder, when men are praised and rewarded for blind courage and brute aggression? Condemning violence outside the ring while celebrating violence inside it is stupid and hypocritical.

But boxing still has defenders. The best boxer that night, they point out, was not Chisora or Haye (both recent losers) but Klitschko himself – who sat calmly through the press-conference chaos. Like all great boxers, Klitschko succeeds not through wild anger or aggression but through rigid discipline, careful planning and self-control.

You Decide

  1. Is boxing a good sport?
  2. Who deserves more respect: brave but wild Dereck Chisora or methodical, disciplined Vitali Klitschko?

Activities

  1. Make a list of as many violent sports from history as you can. Why do such sports have so much appeal?
  2. Should violent and dangerous sports be allowed? Make a short speech arguing the case either for or against.

Some People Say...

“Boxing is a brutal sport and should be banned.”

What do you think?

Q & A

So, bad news for Dereck Chisora...
Bad news for boxing in general. Each new incident like this damages the reputation of the sport, which a growing number of people would like to ban. A sport watched by millions – and enjoyed by thousands of young people – could soon disappear entirely.
How many incidents like this are there?
Boxing-related violence is sadly quite common. One of the most notorious offenders is wild-man Mike Tyson, who once bit off an opponent’s ear during a match.
Even so, banning the sport seems a bit extreme!
It isn’t just bad behaviour that is the worry. Boxing is a very dangerous sport which can cause brain damage, cerebral haemorrhages and even death. Four in five retired boxers suffer scarring of the brain, and many go on to develop dementia or Parkinson’s Disease.

Word Watch

Ring
Boxing arenas have always been called ‘rings’. It is an odd term, as these ‘rings’ have been square for nearly two hundred years. The tradition dates back to the earliest days of the sport.
On points
Boxing matches are normally decided by knockout, which means they end when one fighter is knocked down and cannot get up within a ten second count (as in the expression ‘out for the count’). When no fighter is knocked out within 12 rounds, the winner is whoever is awarded most points (for successful hits) by a panel of judges.
Heavyweight
Boxers compete in divisions based on weight. Heavyweights are the heaviest weight class, with cruiserweights, welterweights and bantamweights in the middle, while flyweights are the lightest.
Vitali Klitschko
Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir have dominated professional boxing for nearly a decade. Apart from being one of the oldest and longest-reigning champions in history, Vitali Klitschko has also dabbled with Ukrainian politics, is an excellent chess player and holds a Ph.D in sports science.

Subjects

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