British boxing’s governing body has condemned the proposed “grudge match” between former world heavyweight champion David Haye and Dereck Chisora and threatened sanctions toward anyone involved in the contest.
Chisora’s license to box was withdrawn “indefinitely” by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) in March after an ugly press conference brawl with Haye following his unsuccessful heavyweight title challenge against reigning world champion Vitali Klitschko in Munich, Germany, the previous month.
Haye does not hold a valid license to box in Britain after announcing his retirement last year following his defeat by Wladimir Klitschko.
However, although the clash between the British boxers is scheduled to take place at West Ham United’s Upton Park in east London on July 14, it is doing so under the auspices of the little-known Luxembourg Boxing Federation rather than the BBBoC.
Chisora’s promoter, Frank Warren, has said he is not trying to undermine the BBBoC, but the board is adamantly opposed to the contest, saying in a statement on Wednesday: “Those behind this proposal are not concerned with the interests of the sport of professional boxing. Any member who participates in such a -promotion would bring the sport of boxing into disrepute and would wholly undermine the authority of the British Boxing Board of Control. For the avoidance of doubt, any member of the British Boxing Board of Control who participates in any way in such a promotion will be deemed to have terminated his/her membership of the British Boxing Board of Control and his/her license therewith.”
Although the board’s threat is unlikely to mean much to either Haye or Chisora, who are both without a license, if followed through, it could have implications for Warren, one of British boxing’s leading promoters.
Because both Haye and Chisora are unlicensed rather than banned, it is easier for the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, under the rules of the European Boxing Union, to sanction the contest.
Haye and Chisora’s camps were separated by a 2.1m steel fence at a press conference to announce the bout on Tuesday.
However, the wire barrier did not prevent the two men from trading verbal insults, if not actual punches.
“He is the ideal opponent for me,” Haye said. “I am so glad he has got a good chin, because if he didn’t have a good chin, he would be blasted out in first round. This means I will give him a nice, slow, concussive beating.”
Chisora responded by saying: “I don’t like him. David, you need to get style. Your corn rows are out of fashion. Your talk is cheap. You always talk, but you don’t deliver in the ring.”
Meanwhile, Warren said: “This is not the end of British boxing. I believe it will be a sellout, a huge event. There are far, far worse things happening in sport than what’s happening here. The fight has been licensed by the governing body in Luxembourg, which has the same standards as the British Boxing Board of Control. It is the biggest fight of the year and the fact of the matter is that the fight is legal, lawful and will go ahead.”
The fight is likely to be the biggest British heavyweight bout since Lennox Lewis fought Frank Bruno in 1993.