Derek Chisora set his sights on an ambitious potential bout with Deontay Wilder next after he halted his run of three consecutive defeats with a split decision win over Kubrat Pulev at the O2 Arena in London.
Victory helped silence the doubters of the 38-year-old with the judges scoring the heavyweight contest 112-116, 116-112 and 116-114 to give revenge to ‘Del Boy’ after he lost to the Bulgarian back in 2016.
The 45th bout of Chisora’s professional career had been tipped to be his last up against an opponent who had only ever tasted defeat to Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua but it was the British boxer who landed the better and heavier punches with a brilliant 12th round enough to clinch it.
Retirement plans are therefore on hold for the former Finchley amateur and he used his first triumph in two-and-a-half years to call out ex-world heavyweight champion Wilder, who lost his trilogy fight with Tyson Fury in October.
“Deontay Wilder next? Yeah, why not,” Chisora insisted.
“I don’t know (how it would go), we’ll see. I can’t picture it yet until he is sitting next to him.
“I will fight anybody. It just depends what money we are getting paid – that is it. It is about money, it is not about anything else.
I will fight anybody. It just depends what money we are getting paid – that is it. It is about money, it is not about anything elseDerek Chisora
“I don’t want an easy fight.”
While Chisora was able to get the better of Pulev (29-3) and delight his big following in the capital, he was wobbled in the eighth and the prospect of going into the ring with Wilder could spell danger for the popular veteran.
It was a different story in this battle for the vacant WBA international heavyweight title where the Londoner started strongly and targeted the body of the 41-year-old in the opening rounds.
Referee Marcus McDonnell had to move fast to avoid Chisora’s right in the second round but Pulev had no such luck minutes later.
A brilliant sixth round saw Chisora catch his more experienced rival with successive left jabs to the face before a hefty right punch connected with the body.
The bell saved Pulev in the seventh round with Chisora’s right hook resulting in blood pouring from the left eye of his opponent and while the tables turned in the next round, a strong finish by the local hero saw thrilling ninth and 12th rounds eventually clinch him a first win since 2019.
Matchroom and DAZN promoter Eddie Hearn added: “He just wants the biggest opportunities out there and we should look at the right fights for him but it was a really big win.
“Derek is capable of doing whatever he wants. Look, he wants Deontay Wilder. I still like Dillian Whyte three.
“He wants the biggest fights for the most amount of money but he has just beaten a top-15, arguably a top-10 heavyweight in the world, so that should put pay to anyone who says he hasn’t got it any more because he has just beat Kubrat Pulev.”
Chisora (33-12) unleashed a number of venomous punches in the ninth round and went for the kill in the dying seconds but Pulev held strong before a split decision saw the O2 Arena break out into song for the Harare-born boxer.
Don Charles was back in the British fighter’s corner to help him inflict a third ever loss to the Bulgarian and join an illustrious list that includes former world heavyweight champions Klitschko and compatriot Joshua.
“I said to Eddie it has been two years now since I won. David Price here, so yeah I have lost a lot in a row,” Chisora added.
“The fans were great. I do it for them, the whole war, the whole fight, everything is for them. It was great for me.
“I have to give a shout-out to AJ because AJ must have some serious power boy. I give him a shout out because I hit that guy and he did not move.”