Dereck Chisora ready to move into MMA if Oleksandr Usyk fight faces long delay

Ian Parker
Dereck Chisora at a press conference to promote his fight with Oleksandr Usyk: Getty

Dereck Chisora has revealed he could try his hand at Mixed Martial Arts if he faces a long wait for his heavyweight bout with Oleksandr Usyk.

Chisora would rather wait than have the fight with former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk go ahead without fans at London’s O2 Arena, but if that means a significant delay he could sign up for a fight with Bellator MMA.

“We’re just waiting for lockdown to finish so we can see how many people we can have in the O2,” Chisora told the PA news agency.

“I think this fight needs fans. Some fights don’t but certain fights need fans and this is one where you need people to enjoy it.

“If the wait is longer I can jump in to Bellator. We’re waiting to see the date they give us for Usyk but if there’s a bigger gap we’re going to jump in to Bellator straight away.”

Chisora, who was originally scheduled to fight Usyk on May 23, said there was no agreement yet on him taking part in the series.

“That is something that needs to fall into place right now,” he added.

If Chisora can beat Usyk when the pair do meet, that could set up a bout with his old friend Anthony Joshua, but the 36-year-old is keen not to get ahead of himself.

“It would be a great fight, two local guys from north London,” he said. “If it happens, it happens, but for now I’m just focusing on Usyk, focusing on the southpaw, and training for that guy.

“AJ has got to fight (Kubrat) Pulev. We’ve all got different paths right now but we never know what’s going to happen.”

Dereck Chisora at a press conference to promote his fight with Oleksandr Usyk (Getty)

In between training sessions, Chisora has kept himself busy in lockdown by selling personalised face masks, raising money for the Royal Free Charity which is supporting hospitals in north London during the coronavirus pandemic.

But he is also finding time to indulge his passion for barbecuing, while watching ‘The Last Dance’ documentary series about basketball great Michael Jordan on Netflix.

“Just to see how he trained every day and never took a day off, pushing himself, you think: ‘Wow’,” Chisora said. “That’s how you do it. He would psych himself up by fighting with his friends. That’s something you can take inspiration from.”

Jordan is not the only sporting giant from his era to have been making headlines of late, with reports suggesting Mike Tyson is ready to get back in the ring – and Chisora would love to see the 53-year-old take on his old rival Evander Holyfield.

“I think that would be amazing because most kids growing up, they didn’t get to see him,” he said. “If he and Holyfield do a little show I think most people would pay to watch that and enjoy it. I would pay to watch that.

“They could have a little crack and we could enjoy the golden era.”

Talk of comebacks in boxing rightly come with questions over when is the right time to step away but, at 36, Chisora is not yet ready to consider his own long-term future.

“The right time to retire is when your body can’t do it,” he said. “It’s difficult to leave boxing behind. People retire but they always come back as a trainer or an advisor.

“But I can’t talk about that now because my focus is still on being an athlete. I can’t think about an exit yet.

“Motivation is high as hell. Every day I get down on my knees and pray. I wake up every morning and I’ve got more energy than I had the day before.” PA

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