Dereck Chisora will look to bounce back from defeat this Saturday as he squares off against a former foe in Kubrat Pulev at the top of a huge bill at the O2 Arena in London. These pair met way back in 2016 for the vacant European title in Pulev's home country of Bulgaria. After a heated build-up, Pulev got the job done over 12 rounds, but he now enters Chisora's manor six years later.
Since the first bout, Pulev has picked up seven victories, but also faced a defeat at world level. Pulev fought former world champion, Samuel Peter, immediately after the Chisora victory. Pulev would defeat Peter as an injury to Peter forced him to be pulled out after the third. Pulev next fought heavyweight gatekeeper Kevin Johnson, a fight Pulev would win by a wide decision. An eliminator for the IBF title came next against Britain's Hughie Fury, Fury was very game, but Pulev's class and experience shone through as he defeated Fury, to line himself up for a shot at the IBF title. Pulev would next sign a promotional deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank, where he would knock Bogdan Dinu out in seven rounds in his first fight under the banner. A unanimous decision victory over Rydell Booker came next before the shot at the IBF title.
The IBF title shot would come against Anthony Joshua in London. Pulev put up a tremendous fight for Joshua but was dropped in the third round, before being stopped in the ninth round. This would be Pulev's second unsuccessful world title challenge, as he was stopped by Wladimir Klitschko in his first attempt in 2014. Pulev has fought once since the Joshua bout, where he got a wide unanimous decision victory over Jerry Forrest.
Chisora has had a whopping 15 fights since the first Pulev encounter, with mixed results up at a high level. Chisora faced Darazan Janjanin in his first bout since, where a devastating body shot stopped Janjanin in round two. Chisora fought Dillian Whyte next, the pair went to war and put on a spectacle after a fiery build-up. Chisora was on the wrong end of a razor-thin split decision. Chisora bounced back with a victory over Robert Filipovic, before challenging Agit Kabayel for the European title. Chisora would be unsuccessful in this challenge leading to people questioning Chisora's future. Chisora vowed to continue, and would violently stop Zakaria Azzouzi next time out.
Chisora fired himself back into contention following an absolute barnburner with Carlos Takam. In a fight of the year contender, Chisora would be backed up most of the fight, as the pair fought up close before Chisora produced a fantastic shot to drop Takam in the eighth. Takam returned to his feet but Chisora chopped him down instantly to win the bout.
Chisora would get his rematch with Whyte next, the build-up was a bit more reserved this time around, but Chisora would get into career-best shape for the bout. The pair picked up where they left off and delivered another thrilling bout, but this time Whyte would definitively end the rivalry, brutally stopping Chisora in the 11th round. Chisora would return and defeat Senad Gashi in a bout where Gashi didn't really engage with Chisora, meaning Chisora would labour to a wide points victory. Chisora would find a brutal knockout in his next fight, as he would lay out Artur Szpilka in two rounds.
Chisora was pencilled in to face Joseph Parker next, but an illness for Parker ruled him out of the fight. David Price was drafted in as the replacement opponent. Price was coming off the back of a big victory over Dave Allen, so he was carrying momentum into the bout. Chisora halted Price's momentum as he stopped Price in four rounds. Chisora would next square off with the now unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk. Chisora caused the Ukrainian great a few issues but would lose by unanimous decision. Chisora faced Joseph Parker next, Parker would be floored early in the first but would recover to get a split decision over Chisora. Chisora would rematch Parker immediately but would be dropped twice as he would go on to lose by unanimous decision.
All roads have led to a rematch between these two titans. They may be in the latter stages of their careers, but will always provide exciting bouts and this will be no different I'm sure. The fight takes place this Saturday at the O2 Arena, and will be broadcast live on DAZN.