Saturday 14 July sees two of Britain’s most controversial heavyweight boxers hit the ring – and each other – as Dereck Chisora and David Haye go head-to-head at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground for the fight that is billed as 'Licensed to Thrill'.
This will be the first time the pair have fought in the enclose of a ring, as opposed to trading physical and verbal blows in a host of press conferences over the past few months. The fight is billed to be a climax to their icy out-of-ring relationship – though whether the dark banter is genuine or staged is still up for debate, as the pair are expected to earn well after this match-up.
The fight is full of dispute as neither fighter is licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control – the fight has been sanctioned by the Luxembourg federation instead, circumventing the BBBofC, much to their disappointment and of the German Boxing Board, who both opposed the fight taking place.
The reason neither fighter is licensed is that Haye never renewed after his short retirement in October 2011, and Chisora received an indefinate suspension from the World Boxing Council after his role in the post-fight press conference brawl in Munich.
The infamous Munich brawl is where the seed for this ‘Licenced to Thrill’ match-up was planted – genuinely or not. Chisora was speaking after his loss to Vitali Klitschko (who he also slapped at the weigh-in), when David Haye started piping up with derogatory comments to his countryman, from the back of the press area. Chisora ended up leaving his seat to square up to Haye, and the infamous fight ensued – with Haye punching Chisora, and Chisora threatening to shoot Haye.
The well-known boxing promoter, and Chisora’s manager, Frank Warren, managed to turn the drama and negativity into a moneymaker for the heavyweight boxers, as he arranged the ‘official’ fight.
The fight is sold out, and is being broadcast live in the UK on BoxNation, EPIX in America, Sky Germany and in more the 60 countries. Not to mention Odeon cinemas showing the fight on big screens across the country.
They’ll be joined on the night by WBA world heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin, who is defending his title against former world champion Hasim Rahman at Upton Park for this fight night.