IN the unlikely event that it comes to it, WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua would have no issue fighting perennial contender Dereck Chisora, of whom Joshua is apparently a great admirer.
That’s according to promoter Eddie Hearn, who says Joshua will be happy to grant Chisora a shot at his three belts if he is somehow able to dirty the undefeated record of undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on May 23.
“They would fight,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “AJ is a massive admirer of Chisora. Growing up at Finchley, Chisora was a hero to AJ. But they will fight, no problem.
“It doesn’t mean, if Chisora beats Usyk, he inherits the mandatory position. But he will become number one with the WBO and everybody will say, ‘You deserve a shot at the world title.’”
Before any such plans, Chisora must topple Usyk and Joshua must do the same to Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, the IBF mandatory challenger he faces on June 20 in London. Of the two a Joshua win would appear the more likely, yet Hearn, ever the salesman, is quick to stress Chisora should not be written off in his pursuit of Usyk’s scalp.
“Usyk vs Chisora will be a thriller. Usyk is the undisputed cruiserweight champion but this is a different game,” Hearn said. “If Chisora gets a hold of him, leans on him, slobbers on him, this will be really difficult for Usyk.
“No one will match Usyk’s feet or skill, but does he punch hard enough in the heavyweight division to keep someone like Chisora, a lion, off him? People will automatically assume Usyk should win but if Chisora gets through the early rounds, and I don’t see why he shouldn’t, he will be heavy and work Usyk to the body.
“You saw a size difference and a strength difference [in Usyk’s fight with Chazz Witherspoon]. He has been working on that. Chisora and [his manager] David Haye fancy this, and they can blow up the division if they win.”
Blow up the division = land a life-changing payday challenging Anthony Joshua for three belts. For Dereck Chisora this could be closer to becoming a reality than he originally thought.
It’s not so much a tease as a warning, but John Kavanagh, the mixed martial arts coach of Conor McGregor, says the notorious Irishman is likely to return to the boxing ring within the next year and a half.
If you needed reminding, the last time we saw McGregor in the ring he was trying but ultimately failing to do much of anything against Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. He has since returned to mixed martial arts, to mixed results, and been constantly linked with additional boxing matches against Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather in a rematch.
Rather than just talk, Kavanagh insists his man is serious about improving his 0-1 pro boxing record and that fight number two could happen early next year.
“I’d honestly be surprised if Conor doesn’t have a boxing match in the next 12 to 18 months,” Kavanagh told Gareth A. Davies. “He loves boxing, he loved the training for the Mayweather fight. It has to be something big. Whatever he does seems to always get bigger. He’s always looking for that next step up.”
Though it’s hard to argue it would be a risk, and that it would represent another step up, there are, I am sure, a host of professional boxers currently rubbing their hands at the prospect of being the one to make Conor McGregor step back down.