The British boxing scene can never have too many personalities with crossover appeal and there are few bigger characters – physically or metaphorically- than enigmatic Finchley heavyweight Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora.
So fans should collectively rejoice over the one-time British, Commonwealth and European champion’s addition to this weekend’s ‘Man Vs Machine’ promotion at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
In the 10 months since succumbing so bravely to Tyson Fury in their world title eliminator at the ExCel Arena, the 6ft 1 ½ in, 240lb powerhouse’s ring action has been limited to a spectacular one-shot 29 second blowout over a Georgian journeyman in July.
Suitably refreshed and rejuvenated, the rumbling Zimbabwe-born crowd pleaser is itching to re-enter the championship fray.
"I want to get back into title contention ASAP and I want someone in the world top ten as soon as possible,’ announced big ‘Del’ who returns in a 10 round international contest, against an opponent still to be confirmed.
After almost a decade of monotony, the sport’s blue riband division has recently perked up due to the rise of fresh talents such as Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
Discounting a heinous hometown decision loss to Finland’s Robert Helenius in Helsinki, former ABA Super-Heavyweight champ Chisora has only been conquered by the very elite – Fury (twice), Vitali Klitschko and David Haye - in a 26 fight pro innings.
Still only 31, he is adamant that his prime years lie ahead of him.
‘Presently, I’m in a great situation. I’m a big name with five losses on my record. Suddenly people will get bold and finally agree to fight me,’ he says.
It is a view endorsed by promoter Warren who has showcased Chisora since the formative fights of his career.
‘Del’s a true fighter; a real trier. He’ll literally box anyone. He’s been a bit unlucky thus far in his career,’ says Warren.
‘We all know that Dereck’s comeback fight was against a pretty basic journeyman but the finish was perfectly delivered whereas previously he’d snatch at his shots a bit.
‘Has he found his level? We’ll find out pretty shortly. We’ll roll the dice with him. Ok, the David Price fight is now dead in the water. Who’d care, even if Dereck beat him comprehensively?
‘And a fight with the winner of Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte (set to meet for the Commonwealth and vacant British title in December) will always be there.
‘But right now, he’s mandatory challenger to European champion Erkan Teper and Dereck certainly wouldn’t be fazed by travelling to Germany if needed. And we’d take a fight against Deontay Wilder in a heartbeat. Wilder’s mob wouldn’t.
‘If Del can look good bagging a win on Saturday, I’m confident of matching him with (WBA number seven rated) Alex Ustinov in a world title eliminator straight after.’
Since separating from Don Charles late last year, British boxing’s self-appointed ‘rude boy’ has been honing both craft and body at a St Pancras gym with new tutor Gary Innes.
‘Mentally, Del became stale and complacent and, as he moved to a higher level, he was exposed,’ says Innes, a former amateur and kick-boxer.
‘He’s always had a willingness to train. However, technically, he didn’t know what to ask for. There’s a difference between someone training you, and someone coaching you.
‘At world level, it’s not just about what shape you can get yourself into. All top contenders are fit and strong. To succeed, you need a different dynamic. ‘Del’ had become too ponderous and slow thinking. We’re addressing that.
‘Confidence won’t be an issue because he’s always handles defeat and success equally. He certainly won’t be looking for easy touches. He dreams big, still intends going to the very top. Rightly or wrongly, that’s his belief. He’d happily fight the reigning champions tomorrow.’
The fighter insists it’s the pursuit of glory that now drives him.
‘I still love boxing, always will. I just want to fight,’ he concludes.
‘Right now, Anthony Joshua is following his own route but, down the line, sooner or later, it’ll happen. 100%. Two kids from the same North London neighbourhood. Destiny. That’d get a buzz going.’
Chisora returns to action this Saturday night as part of the ‘Man vs Machine’ card from Wembley Arena headlined by Frank Buglioni challenging Fedor Chudinov for the WBA World Super-Middleweight championship. Tickets are available from £44.50.