Interview by Mark Butcher: After the initial, crushing disappointment, Dereck Chisora’s trainer Don Charles is in a philosophical mood following his fighter’s recent withdrawal from the eagerly-anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury and already mapping the Londoner’s road back.
The all-British encounter had world title implications with the grudge match doubling as a final eliminator for Wladimir Klitschko’s WBO heavyweight crown. But the July 26th bout fell through when Chisora, in peak condition, fractured his left hand on his last day of sparring with Belarussian behemoth Alexander Ustinov.
“Disappointment is an understatement,” Charles told me on Tuesday afternoon. “We were devastated. Dereck, myself, the whole camp and team. It has happened to us before with Wladimir Klitschko pulling out (in December 2010). So we know that horrible (feeling), but when it’s you that pulls out it stings a bit. After all the work Dereck had put in…for that to happen in the last sparring session was devastating.
“Every day you wake up and it gets better. With perspective, there are people with far greater losses and worse things happening in the world. This is not a career threatening injury. It’s bad, but it’s not that bad. By the grace of god, he’ll be able to fight again this year. If it turns out he can’t fight this year and it’s early next year, so be it.
“Chisora has worked for four months in preparation,” continued the trainer. “It would be wrong to keep him in the gym and it’s off-season right now, which is a blessing. I told Dereck get away from the gym, don’t come anywhere near this gym. He’s got to maintain his weight, don’t balloon up, keep an eye on his diet. Have a rest, take a break from boxing. Prior to this injury, Dereck has probably been the busiest heavyweight in the world in the last 18 months at top level.
“The main thing is for the hand to heal. Don’t come back too prematurely, don’t force it. He’ll have another x-ray in seven to eight weeks’ time to determine whether it’s healed or not and have some physio before he can have any contact on it. He’ll still train. In a few weeks time, I’ll bring him back to the gym.
“Within eight weeks his hand will have repaired,” added Charles, who ideally plans for Chisora, 20-4 (13), to have 12 more fights before retirement. “Depending what he feels when he makes contact with the bag and pad will determine what happens next. One thing we don’t want to do is rush him into coming back. It’s all down to what Chisora is feeling. It’s his body, it’s his hand. Provided the x-ray reveals the bone has bonded, and he’s not feeling any painful sensation, the earliest he will come back is probably December, but he’ll still need time to train.”
Charles graciously expressed sympathy for opponent Tyson Fury, 22-0 (16), who has now been on the wrong end of three high profile withdrawals following his two postponed encounters with former WBA champion David Haye.
“I really feel for him, genuinely,” said Charles. “He has had two letdowns from David Haye, two big fights, and then for us to pull out…what will that do to the guy? I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. Three consecutive pull-outs in big fights with also the monetary aspects of it. Whatever Tyson Fury is thinking right now, I don’t blame him. The reality is he has to get back in the ring as soon as possible. Is he going to hang around for Dereck? I don’t think so. If he looks elsewhere, I don’t blame him. Him and Dereck will meet at some point provided they keep winning and he has something for us. They are both aspiring to become world champions so it’s inevitable.”