Joe Joyce vs Derek Chisora: A Heavyweight Fight That Highlights The Perils Of Boxing

May 24, 2024
3 weeks

On Thursday it was announced that British heavyweights Joe Joyce and Derek Chisora will fight in London on July 27.

Chisora (34-13-0 23 KO) is the battle-hardened veteran who has shared the ring with the very best across two generations. Joyce (16-2-0 15 KO) is the former amateur star in the process of rebuilding a one-time promising professional career that had been spectacularly derailed.

“This is a proper old-school heavyweight fight that seems to have been a long time in the making,” said promoter Frank Warren, who represents both fighters.

“I remember it being talked about strongly even before we teamed up with Joe and it has always struck me as a natural and obvious fight to make.

“Two top London heavies fighting it out for a place back at the top table promises to deliver a cracking scrap. The winner is right back in business, with no real place to go for the loser.”

Chisora Perserveres

Except, that last part is not accurate. Warren is, of course, just doing his job to promote the fight, but any suggestion that a win for either fighter propels him back to the “top table” is wide of the mark, particularly in Chisora’s case.

‘Del Boy’ has been fighting for 17 years – a span that has involved 47 fights and four knockout losses at the hands of elite opposition; his body has taken severe punishment in both victory and defeat.

A look over Chisora’s record shows a fighter who never shirked a challenge. Apart from Anthony Joshua, he has shared the ring with every good and great heavyweight of the past two decades.

He’s fought a trilogy with Tyson Fury – at three different stages of the Gypsy King’s career – and made his world title debut against Vitali Klitschko; he took on Oleksandr Usyk in the Ukrainian’s second bout at heavyweight and contested two thrillers against both Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker, ending up on the losing side all four times.

And still Chisora perseveres. There were calls for him to hang up his gloves after the third fight with Fury, not least of all from Warren. At the age of 40 and having suffered from clear deterioration, Del Boy remains active and is even targeting two more fights this year after Joyce.

Chisora Fights On For Money

Chisora has made it clear that he is now fighting purely to secure his family’s future. It’s a tragic situation that a boxer who is showing early symptoms of CTE feels he is forced to continue fighting for financial gain.

That Chisora, who has headlined sold-out Pay-Per-View shows – albeit as the B-side – is not yet financially secure is partly a failure of boxing and its lack of support system for fighters. No one can tell Chisora how to spend or invest his money, but the absence of a structure to ensure boxers are able to leave the sport with their health and futures secured has long been an important and unaddressed issue.

If it highlights the perils of a boxer’s career, so does the situation in which Joyce finds himself. Only 18 months and three fights ago, the ‘Juggernaut’ was on the fast track to a world title shot.

The Olympic bronze medallist was coming off a career-best victory over Joseph Parker, stopping the New Zealander to become the WBO’s interim champion, when he took on Zhilei Zhang in April 2023.

Joyce Career Derailed

Joyce suffered a knockout defeat to the Chinese fighter in a setback to his progress but had the opportunity to bounce straight back in the rematch five months later. However, another stoppage loss to ‘Big Bang’ proved catastrophic, leaving Joyce further away than ever from world title contention and his career in tatters.

A labored late stoppage of Kash Ali in his comeback fight in March did little to convince the critics that Joyce, now 38 years old, would be a fixture at the top of the division.

And just like that, a promising career seemingly destined for the big glamor fights has been reduced to an all-or-nothing bout against a 40-year-old opponent who probably should have retired long ago.

So when Chisora and Joyce touch gloves in July for what will still be an intriguing bout for British fight fans, it will serve as a reminder of the harsh and brutal business of boxing.