Euro glory beckons for Del Boy
Our Simon Crawford believes Dereck Chisora will stop Edmund Gerber to land the European heavyweight title.
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Finchley heavyweight Dereck Chisora still has the opportunity to make good a career that has occasionally promised so much, has at times bordered on the farcical but has ultimately failed to deliver.
The 29-year-old fights Kazakh-born German Edmund Gerber for the vacant European title on a stellar domestic bill in London on Saturday night and victory would certainly open doors that had appeared to have slammed shut in his face following his one-sided defeat to David Haye just over a year ago.
But Chisora (17-4 11KOs) has regrouped with victories over Hector Alfredo Avila and previously unbeaten Malik Scott who he halted in six rounds - albeit in controversial circumstances with referee Phil Edwards perhaps stepping in a little too quickly to stop the contest.
'Del Boy' has always shown heart as he demonstrated in his credible points defeat to Vitali Klitschko in February 2012, but now there seems to be focus and belief which makes Chisora a dangerous customer.
Victory would certainly put him on the cusp of another world title shot against one of the dominant Klitschko brothers.
So he has everything to gain against what appears to be a limited opponent in 25-year-old Gerber (23-1 14KOs) who has victories over Brits Lee Swaby, Colin Kenna, Paul Butlin, Carl Baker and Michael Sprott on his record.
However, his only blemish came in a rematch with Sprott in Germany last December when he lost a majority decision to the 38-year-old Reading veteran.
Chisora represents a significant step up in class for Gerber and I expect the Londoner to have too much power, nous and work rate to be denied victory. Best odds of 1/7 (Ladbrokes, William Hill) would seem to back this up, with Gerber a huge outsider at a general 13/2.
"Beating Gerber is another step closer to the Klitschko brothers and nothing is going to stop me winning the European title," Chisora told boxingscene.com.
"I'm fit, lean and mean and ready to do the business against Gerber who is a good fighter, but not in my class. I really want to do a great job on him, really smash him up and show that I deserve a shot at the Klitschkos."
That determination can lead Chisora to a stoppage victory and I'm taking the 13/5 Ladbrokes are offering on him to win in rounds 7-12.
There's also an eye-catching bill taking place in Liverpool on the same night, with battle-hardened Scouser Derry Mathews defending his Commonwealth lightweight title against former professional footballer Curtis Woodhouse.
It's an intriguing contest that I personally find hard to call, although the layers are firmly in the corner of Matthews with bet365's 1/2 the best price around, while Woodhouse, who played in the Premier League for Sheffield United and was an England U21 international, is 11/5 with Boylesports and spreadex.
The 33-year-old Woodhouse (19-5 13KOs) will stepping into the lions' den but comes into the fight on the back of two good wins over Sandor Horvath and Joe Elfidh and insists he is perfectly happy at the 135lbs limit.
"I'm a big lightweight, make no mistake about it, I'm huge for the weight," said Woodhouse.
"I've been up at welterweight and light-welter against big strong guys who can certainly be considered punchers and I've held my own with them."
Mathews (33-8-2 18KOs) looked to be losing his title last time out against Tommy Coyle in Hull before producing a gem of a left hook in the 10th round that finished his opponent who was well ahead on points.
He believes his experience will be too much for Woodhouse.
"Curtis is a strong man with unbelievable desire but he's swimming in the deep end now," said Mathews.
"He's going to find out the hard way that championship class is a million miles away from anything that he's used to."
Woodhouse will look to come forward to use his aggression and power, while Mathews, 29, will look to keep the fight at distance and sit behind his accurate jab.
It's a great clash of styles and not a fight I'm going to get involved in as I think it could easily go either way.