Danny Flexen examines the press conference rant from Dereck Chisora yesterday
It was as predictable as it was unexpected. Dereck Chisora is the poster boy for press conferences gone awry – at least this time the furniture remained rooted to the floor. When the metaphorical baton was passed to heavyweight enigma Chisora at yesterday’s Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor World Boxing Super Series final press conference, ostensibly to discuss his chief supporting clash with ex-WBO ruler Joseph Parker, the assembled throng did anticipate some trash talk, perhaps even embellished with profanity. “War” Chisora, flanked by a manager in David Haye who tried and abjectly failed to look embarrassed, went way beyond that.
That Matchroom’s official press release containing the salient quotes from the event only included a few lines of Chisora’s wide-ranging and vicious rant, says it all about a self-serving tirade that had its good and bad points. Del Boy later walked out and returned but the message had already been sent, the damage done.
The crux of his problem appeared to be that he was ‘only’ the co-feature to a pair of “little guys” (his words) in Prograis and Taylor, who just so happen to be unbeaten world champions and the two best at their weight. In claiming that “no one cares” about them or the Ali Trophy at stake, Chisora basically took shots at both men, plus the WBSS itself, Eddie Hearn, Sky Sports, DAZN and Kalle Sauerland, whom he told to “F*** off.”
Somewhat obscured by his typically contrived rage were the salient points Chisora made. Regardless of the status of the Prograis vs Taylor clash and its appeal to hardcore boxing fans, it is fair to note that Chisora is better known among casual sports fans. It is also sensible to assert that the heavyweight division remains a law unto itself and that him vs Parker could easily have been the main event, especially with the card in London, at the O2, rather than in Taylor’s native Scotland.
It is hard to blame Chisora for self-promotion – Haye certainly can’t, not with a straight face – or even for drawing more attention to his fight by insisting it should be the headline attraction. Where he went wrong, in my view, was in demeaning the two super-lightweights to bolster his argument.
In professional wrestling, it is considered an art to be able to promote your ‘opponent’ – to “put them over” – before ‘defeating’ them, the essential logic being that if the guy you beat is perceived as amazing, it only benefits your own reputation when you overcome them. Chisora apparently is not a WWE fan – despite ample evidence to the contrary – and, worse still, denigrated not his opponent, which could have been counter-productive anyway, but two guys who are his rivals only for main event status, nothing more. By dismissing Prograis vs Taylor, Chisora is basically telling casual fans who listen to what he says that the main event is not worth their time and, crucially, their money. That might serve his own purpose but it does little for the show as a whole.
In short, Chisora could have achieved the same goal via alternative and more expedient methods. It was badly done, Del Boy, badly done indeed.