Harare - Dereck Chisora's bid for a world heavyweight boxing crown ended in disgrace on the night of February 18 in Germany and has also left a bitter taste in the mouth for a lot of Zimbabweans and other lovers of the sport.
Twenty-eight-year-old Chisora was beaten on points by WBC champion, Vitali Klitschko, in a unanimous decision and could end up in prison after an ugly post-fight brawl in Munich with fellow heavyweight, David Haye.
There is a possibility Haye, who was in Munich as part of a television commentary team, could be jailed for up to 10 years for causing grievous bodily harm during the post-fight madness that has been condemned by everyone in the sport.
Chisora could get as many as five years in prison for his part in the altercation that erupted after the two heavyweights lost their cool.
But what has irked a number of Zimbabweans is the sudden spin in the media coverage after the disgraceful end to Chisora’s bid for the world heavyweight crown.
In the countdown to the big fight, Chisora was roundly embraced as a British contender who had a chance to score a surprise victory over Klitschko.
Chisora received a lot of positive coverage in the mainstream British media.
In all cases, he was referred as a British boxer with very little ‑ if any ‑ mention given to his Zimbabwean roots.
Images of Chisora with a British scarf in a pre-fight media conference were splashed all over the Internet to buttress the point that he was representing the Union Jack and not Zimbabwe.
But since his participation in the shameful post-match fight with Haye, Chisora has seemingly lost his Britishness.
Following international news coverage, what is now prominent is the fact that he was born in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean radio journalist, Tinashe Chikuse, used one of his breakfast slots to question the change in reportage.
“I don’t know what’s going on but now Dereck Chisora is being referred to as Zimbabwean and not British after what happened in Germany over the weekend,” said Chikuse.
“You can feel there is something wrong about the coverage.”
And Chikuse is not alone.
Fortune “Giant” Bgwoni, the executive secretary of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association, labelled Chisora’s post-Munich coverage as a disgrace.
“There are no two ways about it that the message the international media is now trying to portray is that Chisora can only do such ridiculous things simply because he is Zimbabwean not British,” said Bgwoni.
“It’s loud and clear and in every report you can see that they are eliminating his British connection and linking him more and more to Zimbabwe.
“To them, a Briton cannot do such absurd things and it’s all part of this thing that he was born in Mbare, in the ghetto in Zimbabwe, and while life has taken him out of the ghetto, the ghetto is still big time a part of him.
“They have conveniently forgotten, all those writers and commentators, that Chisora has spent the last 10 or so years living in and boxing for Britain and I doubt if he has ever returned to Zimbabwe during that time.
“If Dereck had won on Saturday, all those writers and commentators would be hailing him as a super British heavyweight champion and there would be little, if any, mention of his Zimbabwean connection.
“But things went horribly wrong in Munich and the story has changed and, indirectly, they are all blaming his Zimbabwean heritage and we take great exception to that.”
Bgwoni said while many Zimbabweans will always embrace Chisora as one of them, but the international media should not pick and choose when to associate him with his new British citizenship and his Zimbabwean ancestry.
“To us, Dereck is our boy, no matter what happened in Munich, and we are proud that a Zimbabwean boy has fought for the world heavyweight championship,” said Bgwoni.
“But the British should not be selective and treat Dereck as one of them, when he is eyeing greatness, and one of us, when he is in the dumps as is the case right now.
“I think this is a lesson, too, for all the guys who are choosing to fly other flags.
“You are only good in the eyes of your new hosts if you are doing well and once you lose it they dump you.
“The message from the British right now is that Dereck is not one of them and if he hasn’t read it yet, tough luck to him, because what they want right now is to see him in jail.”
Already, the British Boxing Board of Control has said Chisora faces a life ban for his part in the brawl.
"The board have many powers; they can fine, they can suspend and they can withdraw a licence," British Boxing Board of Control general-secretary Robert Smith said.
Chisora has apologised for his wild behaviour.
“Whilst my behaviour was inexcusable, there were many things that went on behind the scenes that ultimately caused my frustrations to boil over,” Chisora said.
“I acknowledge that my actions were totally unprofessional, with or without provocation.
“Now, with a cool head and the benefit of hindsight, my actions at the weekend were regrettable to say the least and I am deeply embarrassed.”
This is not the first time Chisora has found himself in trouble, having been suspended in 2009 after biting his opponent’s ear in a fight he then lost.
Chisora arrived in the United Kingdom in 2007 from Zimbabwe with his family.
Del Boy and his trainer, Don Charles, were arrested at Munich airport and, after being questioned by police, they were released.
Chisora's promoter, Frank Warren, said there were many people to blame for the disgraceful scenes in Munich.
"His emotions were high, his face was bleeding," Warren told journalists.
"But it was unacceptable. I'm not trying to defend him.
“I'm just explaining the facts and what exactly did happen.
"What happened, as far as Dereck is concerned … threatening to shoot Haye … call it street talk, call it whatever you want, it's ridiculous, it's out of order, it's wrong.
“Nobody can condone that. Saying you're going to shoot somebody in front of 250 Press people, to say the least, is a stupid remark.
"It was unacceptable. Everybody has to accept some responsibility … Dereck Chisora, David Haye, the British Boxing Board of Control, myself ..."
Boxing blogger, Gari Jones, writing for the authoritative www.boxingnews24.com, said sport needed to understand its main characters and there was need for leniency.
“David showed he has a tendency to be confrontational and abusive with people and Chisora has the conduct of a young violent teenager and needs to grow up,” wrote Jones.
“I would suggest Haye and Chisora pay a fine, issue an apology and be made to do charity work, if Haye did decide to come back, his licence as well as Chisora’s should be put on probation for 12-18 months and any foul up, in that time, they serve a ban.”