Boxing: Trainer traded blows with ‘volatile’ Dereck Chisora
DERECK Chisora’s trainer Don Charles believes the British public will grow to love a fighter whose erratic behaviour he suspects can be partly explained by autism.
Upton Park will provide the setting for a domestic showdown mired in controversy when Chisora meets former world heavyweight champion David Haye on Saturday night. The rivals brawled at a press conference after Chisora’s WBC title loss to Vitali Klitschko in February, the final act of a series of outrageous incidents involving the 28-year-old.
Even Charles himself occasionally comes to blows with a fighter he has trained and mentored at his gym in Finchley since 2006.
“Dereck is an extrovert, he’s an eccentric character and can be unpredictable,” said Charles. “I haven’t had it tested but I believe he is autistic. There are also other things that he has, which I won’t reveal, that make him the type of character he is. Sometimes when people are dyslexic with a touch of autism they speak in actions and can get frustrated. My own assessment is that he acts to make up for his deficiencies he has communicating.”
Chisora arrived in the UK as a 16-year-old from Zimbabwe and Charles believes he has suffered from the absence of his father Paul, who remains in the African nation.
“Dereck’s father didn’t bring him up, his mum did. Consequently that discipline you need from your father when you’re growing up isn’t there,” Charles said.
“He finds it very hard to take instructions from another man. It’s been very difficult to train him. The combination of autism and dyslexia makes it hard for him to receive information.
“I was banging my head against a wall for three years until a specialist told me the way to give him information is to break it down into little segments and feed it to him in pieces.
“Since I’ve done that we’ve been getting information into his system. But, nevertheless, we have a volatile relationship.
“He’s very hard to train, but that’s what makes him the fighter he is.
“You can’t remove that animal instinct from him because, if you do, you’ve killed him as a fighter. Instead you must learn how to manage, contain and nurture it.”
Sometimes the tension between Charles and Chisora sees the pair exchange punches and they clashed during the build up to Saturday’s bout against Haye. “Many times I’ve thought I don’t need this. I’ve walked off, I’ve thought ‘I’m not training him any more’,” said the 50-year-old from Nigeria. “We came to blows very recently during this training camp, I’m not going to deny it. It happened. Two hours later he apologised for igniting it and I apologised for putting my hands on him.”
Chisora meets Haye on the back of three successive defeats, although he was the victim of a hometown decision against Finnish European champion Robert Helenius last December. He earned admirers for his brave and impressive display against Klitschko, at least until the madness descended at the post-fight press conference.
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