DEREK CHISORA had barely finished telling the world that his heavyweight battle with Joseph Parker was the real main event of the October 26 PPV card when the Kiwi pulled out sick.
The brilliant super-lightweight unification clash and World Boxing Super Series final between IBF king Josh Taylor and WBA super champ Regis Prograis is the actual headliner.
But the battle between Scotland’s finest and the undefeated New Orleans sensation is a clash for boxing purists that would sadly never get close to selling out the O2 on its own, as Del Boy firmly pointed out at that spicy press conference.
So, with Parker laid up nursing the painful and debilitating after effects of a spider bite, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has been busy trying to find a man tough enough to battle ‘War’ Chisora at short notice and with a profile big enough to help carry the £19.95 show.
SunSport looks at the best options and how they would measure up to the original bout against New Zealand’s former WBO world champion who had only suffered narrow defeats to Brit fan favourites Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
Shameful as it is, the 31-year-old American is an even bigger attraction now he has served a six-month ban for failing a string of drug tests before his scheduled June 1 fight with AJ.
Big Baby has a profile almost as big as his medicine cabinet thanks to his goading of Joshua and the alphabet soup of substances found in his giant system.
Chisora wants to fight Miller and claims to have made an offer but Miller’s team have already made it clear to SunSport that he would need mega money to accept the challenge.
The Brooklyn slugger has been out of the ring for 11 months and would surely need a warm-up fight before he faced anyone as experienced or powerful as the 35-year-old.
Miller is planning a ring return at the end of November or early December and has been training.
But he would be able to demand silly sums to risk his undefeated record and celebrity status for a short-notice shot at Chisora.
The no-nonsense Russian has the resume to fill Parker’s shoes, having been the WBA world champion and only ever lost to AJ and Wladimir Klitschko.
The veteran – and apparent Clare Balding lookalike – still has a weapon of a left hook, as David Price found out in 2018 when the giant Scouser was demolished by the Soviet slugger.
And Hughie Fury was outclassed by the 40-year-old last time out, so UK fans know all about the blond powerhouse.
Hearn revealed Povetkin was on the agenda but the fight is 22 days away and old-school Povetkin prefers an eight-week camp focused on his opponent.
With Vladimir Putin in his corner, Povetkin is not short of a few Rubles so it seems unlikely he would risk suffering the third defeat of his doping-stained career for a sub appearance against War.
Hearn has also mentioned Povetkin vs the classy former cruiserweight Michael Hunter for the undercard of the AJ vs Andy Ruiz rematch on December 7.
Scotland-based giant Martin Bakole found out just how talented the Las Vegas based boxer is when they met at Bethnal Green’s York Hall last year.
Hunter has a US following, speaks the lingo and has only suffered one career loss, on points against the magnificent ex-undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk back in 2017.
But it could be all of Hunter’s skills that count him out of this contest.
At just 6ft 1in, he is small for heavyweight and relies on his speed, skill and intelligence and those attributes do not gel well with Chisora’s crowd pleasing seek-and-destroy style.
Fight fans have gladly bought tickets and PPVs to watch the resurgent Finchley rock go toe-to-toe with Whyte twice and Carlos Takam in the last three years.
But they turn off when he faces more elusive opponents like Senad Gashi or Agit Kabayel, who wisely refuse to stand and trade with the warhorse.
Hunter, 31, would be better served beating Povetkin in Saudi Arabia and catapulting himself into world title reckoning, which even defeating Chisora would not do.
Earmarked for a fight on November 23 in his hometown of Liverpool, but still without an opponent, Pricey could swoop in to save this card.
At 6ft 8in and on the back of a convincing win over social media sensation Dave Allen last time out, Price’s stock is surprisingly high, after back-to-back losses in 2018.
And his long-time supporters still hope the 36-year-old can fulfil his early promise and not be remembered a nearly-man.
However, Chisora appears a tremendously loyal man and may not want to clash with his friend.
After Price’s career-saving win over Allen in July, Chisora was quick to visit him backstage with a hug and plenty of worlds of encouragement, he even called him “brother”.
But Price should be seriously considered for this task.
The Canada-based Colombian gave a good account of himself when he suffered the first loss of his career against Dillian Whyte in July.
The news Whyte had failed a drugs test in the build-up to the O2 bout, and faced a hearing on the morning of his points win, overshadowed the details of the 12-round slugfest.
Rivas’ team, including promoter Yvon Michel, were unhappy Hearn did not inform them of the adverse findings and the hearing so there could be some bad blood left between the matchmakers.
But what better way to make it up to the 32-year-old than with a bumper pay-day and all-expenses-paid return trip to London?
Anthony Joshua’s favourite sparring partner has been mentioned by Hearn as a possible stand-in but his recent loss to Michael Hunter and lack of following count dramatically against him.
At 6ft 6in he should be able to ask Chisora questions and stand up to his new-found knock-out power.
But not many casual fans will know the name of the Billy Nelson-trained hulk, making PPV sales a problem and little time to build a rivalry.
The Congo-born brother of former cruiserweight champ Ilunga Makabu has just signed a deal to become a Matchroom stablemate of Chisora.
And he is in a rush to make a name for himself, unlike some of the more established names previously mentioned.
But Chisora told his followers in a social media post that they should demand refunds if he doesn’t get a top-level opponent and Bakole’s anonymity could turn people away.
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