Tony Bellew has made his wishes for friend and fellow fighter, Derek Chisora, clear.
Chisora has been in the sport for 15 years consisting of 46 heavyweight fights. A recent career resurgence has seen the Finchley fighter mix it at the top of the division, but now, at 38, there are calls to hang up the gloves.
Recently he stacked up three losses in a row for the second time in his long and storied career. A win over Kubrat Pulev lifted him again and got him a title shot against Tyson Fury, but he was dismantled until the referee waved the one-sided contest off.
The former cruiserweight world champion, who now enjoys success as a pundit for the sport, is close with Chisora. Bellew told William Hill’s Tippy Tappy Football that he has implored his friend to retire.
“I’m close to Del, and I love Del to pieces. But I don’t want to see him back in a ring. And I begged him to stop. I begged him, begged him, begged him – but he won’t, he loves fighting.”
Bellew reckons that Del’s craving for competition is what keeps him around the ring, rather than anything financial – although he did point out that many do stay in the sport for that reason.
“Del isn’t doing it for the money, that’s the frightening part. I understand when lads are skint and you’ve got to carry on fighting because you’ve got a family to provide for. But Del’s okay. Del’s financially good. He doesn’t need the money.
He says to me ‘Tone, we all need the money’ and I’m like you don’t. He’s got a beautiful wife, he’s got two beautiful little girls. Just think about, you’re no good to them if you’re incapable of looking after yourself. You’re no good to them.
And that’s what boxing does. That’s the harsh reality. I’m sorry people don’t want to hear that, but I’m going to say it. I don’t care what anyone thinks, that’s just the way it is.”
Bellew himself retired following a big knockout at the hands of current heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk – a man who Chisora has also faced and been defeated by.
As for ‘Del Boy’, his future is unclear – but there’s no doubt that, despite many in the sport offering their opinions and advice, the decision will be made by him and him alone. His latest comment on the matter was that he didn’t want to go out on a defeat.