Usyk vs Chisora: Carl Baker and Paul Butlin remember being kissed and bitten by Derek Chisora – they expect more pre-fight shenanigans
Derek Chisora has kissed and bitten opponents, as well as flipped tables and spat water. Carl Baker and Paul Butlin recall their brushes with Chisora’s chaos, and wonder how Oleksandr Usyk will deal with the mind games…
Chisora faces Usyk on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and Britain’s heavyweight will go head to head with the Ukrainian at Thursday’s final press conference, which will be streamed live on the Sky Sports website and app, Sky Sports Boxing YouTube, and Sky Sports Boxing Facebook.
Former opponents Butlin and Baker have both revealed how they were on the receiving end of Chisora’s wild antics…
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What are your memories of the infamous kiss?
Baker told Sky Sports: I come from the Ingle gym. We are used to playing mind games, winding people up, I’ve seen it all before.
But to be grabbed, kissed like that, on camera and in front of everybody? It threw me.
I saw red. I remember lots of arms grabbing me and hearing: ‘Calm down, Carl’.
It did my head in. From that second on, on the night of the fight, until after the fight, he did my head in.
I knew that I shouldn’t let him get into my head. But I couldn’t help it.
I was shocked. It was embarrassing – the pictures went everywhere.
I can laugh about it now and say his lips were soft and tasted of strawberries.
But at the time? I thought ‘how can this man belittle me like this?’
What else do you remember about fight week with Chisora?
Baker: I had never boxed on that stage before so the build-up, for me, was great. I enjoyed just about every minute. Just about!
He has a lot of character. As a person? Can I swear?
He loves attention, he loves the cameras, he wants people to speak about him. He does things for attention.
Was Chisora intimidating?
Baker: You know he’s there. He has a presence. He’s shorter than me but I could feel, physically, that he was around me. I knew I was in the presence of someone.
You don’t know what to expect from him. The situation is intimidating – he was tipped to be British, Commonwealth, and world champion. It wasn’t the intimidation you would feel walking down a dark street. But you are on guard with him, waiting for something to happen.
Did he go too far by forcibly kissing you?
Baker: Everything he does before a fight is disrespectful – spitting water at Wladimir Klitschko, slapping Vitali, throwing a table, the kiss.
I understand why he does it. But it did cross a line.
Chisora won the fight in the second round to stay undefeated…
Baker: I’d heard he wasn’t going to fight. Someone told me he’d banged his head and got a cut.
I went back to my room to relax but [the kiss] was playing on my mind constantly.
‘This man has just embarrassed me – how will I live this down?’
I put pressure on myself to perform in the fight. But my game-plan went to pot. In the second round, it was stopped, although I still disagree [with the referee].
Will Chisora’s mind games work on Usyk?
Baker: If anyone won’t allow it to get to them, it will be Usyk. He’s a character himself.
Can the class clown handle being clowned? Nobody has clowned Usyk yet.
Paul Butlin lost two decisions to Chisora in 2008 and 2009. Both featured textbook controversy…
Butlin told Sky Sports: The first four-rounder we had, I thought I won. I put him over but the referee said it wasn’t a knock-down. He [headbutted] me but the referee didn’t do anything.
The second fight I’d taken at a week’s notice. It was an eight-rounder but he couldn’t stop me, so he bit me.
I threw a couple of body shots then I felt him on my ear.
Mike Tyson spat his gumshield out and bit Evander Holyfield with his teeth. Chisora kept his gumshield in so it hurt, but not that badly.
The referee said: ‘There is no mark on your ear’.
I said: ‘That’s because he bit me with his gumshield in!’
I was fuming.
How would Usyk react to Chisora’s aggression?
Usyk was quick to play down talk of a physical confrontation with Chisora before the first bell rings at the weekend.
He told Sky Sports: “Just imagine he slaps me and I’ve got to punch him with my hand and he will fall down and get knocked out.
“And all the fans around the world, including myself as the opponent who takes part in this fight, would get disappointed.
“I’m not interested in what he will be doing. I’m interested in what I do myself.”
Watch Usyk vs Chisora on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber, you can book and watch it here.
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