(Promoter Frank Warren, center, separates Dereck Chisora, left, and Tyson Fury, right, at the weigh-in; via)
Tyson Fury gave European heavyweight champion Dereck Chisora a leisurely pasting at London’s ExCel Arena, Saturday. Wilmslow’s Fury, 26, boxing almost exclusively from the southpaw stance, picked and pecked Chisora, 30, to pieces throughout 10 rather insipid rounds that attracted boos from the crowd from as early as the 6th of them. Finchley’s Chisora, who was never at the races, was given the hook in his corner by trainer Don Charles, who informed his charge that he, “should finish on his feet.”
Fury (23-0, 17 KOs) is one of the strangest heavyweights of recent times. Moodier than a Caspar David Friedrich painting, Fury can flip-flop between convivial charmer and fatalistic psychopath in the time it would take to uppercut oneself in the face. It is an almost manic disposition – quite genuine – that translates to his in-ring performances. In his career to date he has been: English, Irish, fit, fat, a sloppy brawler, a careful boxer, a southpaw, a sitting duck and tonight, an effective, 6-foot-9 fancy-dan.
Chisora (20-5, 13 KOs) is nothing like as erratic; however, his poor man’s Joe Frazier impersonation finally frittered out here. It is a style of fighting that can only sustain a fighter for a limited time; Chisora (241 ½), who once traded on guts and mettle, spent the majority of his time between rounds asking whether his facial damage had worsened. It is a classic indication that a fighter no longer belongs on the tough side of the ropes.
Fury (264), who won’t ever look fit or graceful – despite his Uncle Peter’s exertions, now has time to kill before a bout with the heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, can be made in 2015. Quite what guise he’ll assume should that ever come to pass is anyone’s guess. A Kafka-esque bug with a beard, perhaps?
Liam Walsh (17-0, 11 KOs) proved too skilful and too clever for brave Gary Sykes (27-4, 6 KOs) through 12 absorbing rounds for the British and Commonwealth junior lightweight championships – a competitive affair that belied the official scores of 119-108, 118-109 and 118-111 in Walsh’s favour (TQBR sided with the latter of those). Cromer’s Walsh, who boxed smartly while switching stances, dropped Sykes hard in the opener and rocked the Dewsbury dynamo with a left hook in the 9th. Sykes, though, gritted his teeth and fired back at both flashpoints to finish the bout on his feet – outscored but not discredited.
Walsh (126 ¼) a sharp-shooter with sturdy power in each hand, began the contest looking to pick Sykes – a notorious slow starter – off from range. Midway through the opening round, Sykes (129 ¼) was caught napping with his hands errant and his feet and shoulders squared up. Walsh cracked home a long right hand that lifted the Yorkshire man off his feet and bowled him over onto his right side. After rising on wooden legs, Sykes traded with Walsh on the ropes, a gutsy retort that saved him from a most ignominious exit.
Sykes began trying to claw his way back into the fight but Walsh’s quick feet prevented Sykes from moving into range to uncork the idiosyncratic flurries and body shots that made him a two-time British champion. Walsh’s snappier, meatier punching shaded rounds two to five as Sykes’s more agricultural approach left him stuck in the mud.
Sykes, however, is impossible to dissuade. “Five Star” just kept coming: Sykes edged rounds six and seven and sent Walsh’s gum shield flying in the 8th. Walsh, though, had all the answers. A right hand-left hook flash in the 9th almost took Sykes out and Walsh picked his man off down the stretch to secure the finest win of his career, along with Sykes’s beloved Lonsdale belt.
Both men – who comported themselves like gentlemen – looked huge at the weight. Walsh, 28, who can kick on from domestic level based on this showing, will probably stay put for now; Sykes, 30, may elect for one last hurrah up at lightweight.