By Mark Eisner: British heavyweight Derek Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) labored to a 12 rouns split decision over former two-time world title challenger Kubrat Pulev (29-3, 14 KOs) in their rematch on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England.
The scores were 116-114, 116-112 for Chisora, and 116-112 for the 41-year-old Pulev.
Chisora looked exhausted in the second half of the contest, spending a lot of the time against the ropes covering up. Pulev was unable to take advantage of Chisora’s gassed-out state due to his slow hand speed, lack of power, and failure to let his hands go.
After the fight, Chisora revealed that he wants his promoter Eddie Hearn to set him up with a fight against former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
- In a disappointing outcome, Israil Madrimov (8-0-1, 6 KOs) and Michel Soro (35-3-2, 24 KOs) saw their fight end in a third-round technical draw due to a cut. Soro, 34, suffered a bad cut over his left eye from a clash of heads in the third round. Referee Steve Gray halted the fight at 0:05 of the third round after receiving advice from the ringside doctor. Unfortunately, the fight was a WBA 154-lb title eliminator, and it’s unlikely the two will fight again. They’d already fought last December in a clash that was won by Madrimov by a ninth-round knockout. If Madrimov and Soro do choose to fight again, it may need to happen in 2023 due to the severity of the cut.
- Undefeated junior middleweight Caoimhin Agyarko (12-0, 7 KOs) defeated Lukasz Maciec (28-5-1, 5 KOs) by a ten-round unanimous decision to capture the vacant WBA international 154-lb strap. The judges scored it 100-90, 100-90, and 99-93.
- Undefeated female super bantamweight prospect Ramla Ali (6-0, 1 KO) beat Agustina Rojas (6-2, 0 KOs) by a one-sided eight-round points decision. The score was 80-72.
- Undefeated heavyweight prospect Fabio Wardley (14-0, 13 KOs) destroyed the stout 278-lb journeyman Chris Healey (9-10, 2 KOs), stopping him in the second round. The 27-year-old heavy-handed Wardley knocked Healey down twice, once in the first and a second time. After the second knockdown, the contest was halted in round two. The time of the stoppage was at 0:40 of round two by referee Mark Bates.
- Heavyweight prospect Solomon Dacres (3-0, 1 KO) beat the overmatched Kevin Nicolas Espindola (7-4, 2 KOs) by an eight-round points decision. The score was 80-72.
- Talented super bantamweight Yousuf Ibrahim (2-0, 0 KOs) schooled Francisco Rodriguez (1-7, 1 KO), beating him by a four-round points decision. The score was 40-36.
Kubrat Pulev (29-2, 14 KOs) is the favorite going into tonight’s contest, as he already beat Chisora by a 12 split decision in 2016, and is fighting on a higher level despite being 41 years old.
In the chief support bout, undefeated junior middleweight contender Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6 KO) fights Michel Soro (35-3-1, 24 KO) in a 12-round rematch in a WBA 154-lb eliminator. The winner will be the mandatory challenger to undisputed champion Jermell Charlo.
Chisora-Pulev II undercard:
Fabio Wardley vs. Kingsley Ibeh
Solomon Dacres vs. Kevin Nicolas Espindola
Yousuf Ibrahim (vs. Francisco Rodriguez
Israil Madrimov vs. Michel Soro
Ramla Ali vs. Agustina Rojas
Felix Cash vs. Vaughn Alexander
Caoimhin Agyarko vs. Lukasz Maciec
Pulev did an excellent job of outboxing Chisora the last time they fought, and there’s no indication that tonight’s rematch will be any different. Chisora’s style of fighting, which is a poor man’s version of Joe Frazier, is ideal for Pulev to land his jabs and right hands.
“He’s made of different stuff. Genetically, we’re very different,” said David Haye to DAZN Boxing about Chisora. “He’s a tank that just keeps marching forward.
“He’s just robust, and he knows his strengths. Chisora just knows, ‘I’m going to keep marching forward and every round, you might win the first, second and third, but in the fourth, I’m going to keep churning and you’re going to start flagging.
“‘When you start flagging, I’m going to start landing more shots. The more shots I land, the more tired you get. Now we’re even. Who wants to fight with no energy now?’
“Derek can fight on empty when he’s completely exhausted . When he finishes rounds completely & utterly exhausted, he sits down, gets up, and is ready to go again. Not many people have his powers of recovery.
“His presence is like no other that I’ve fought before. He’s tightened up all those gaps in his arsenal that were there in the past,” said Haye about Chisora.
“He’s a lot more well-rounded now than he was back then. He’s older, a lot more miles on the clock, a few more losses and he’s a much better fighter now [than in 2012].
“I’d much prefer to fight the 28-year-old Chisora than the 37-year-old Chisora.
Derek Chisora goes to war tonight against Kubrat Pulev in their 12-round rematch in the main event on DAZN at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Chisora (32-12, 23 KOs) is attempting to keep his gig as a headliner/entertainer going a little while longer, but he absolutely needs a win tonight against Pulev after losing his last three contests.