British heavyweight Dereck Chisora caused a storm at the weigh-in ahead of his world title bid against Vitali Klitschko when he slapped the long-standing WBC titleholder in the face.
Everything appeared to be going smoothly in Munich, Germany, early Friday afternoon, after both men weighed in without any major issues.
But that all changed during the customary face-off between the fighters as, following the usual shoving, pushing with heads and staring eyeball-to-eyeball, north Londoner Chisora, 28, suddenly threw a right-hand slap across his unsuspecting rival’s left cheek.
It was an astonishing, cowardly attack and not a playful swipe. Yet, if it caught the 40-year-old champion off guard, it failed to produce any notable reaction from him. Indeed, the incident seemed to shake up Chisora’s surprised team far more. The challenger, who had most of his face covered by a Union Jack flag, immediately backed off several yards, possibly anticipating that Klitschko might decide to reply in kind.
The Englishman, who once kissed an opponent at a weigh-in and predicts he will win this weekend’s clash with an eighth-round knockout, need not have worried. Instead of chasing his tormentor, the unflappable Ukrainian, unbeaten since losing to Lennox Lewis in 2004, flashed a quiet, menacing smile in Chisora’s direction. There were a few verbal exchanges but the message from Klitschko appeared to be something along the lines of ‘wait until tomorrow.’
“What do you expect from a man who hits his girlfriend?” Klitschko said later. “I am glad he has agreed to fight a man again.”
Chisora’s trainer Don Charles branded the actions of his man ‘unacceptable‘ while his manager Francis Warren was equally unimpressed. Chisora may well be charged by the British Boxing Board of Control with bringing the sport into disrepute.
“No one expected him to do that. It’s not something we would condone,” Warren said. “Maybe, he is trying to alter the way Klitschko is thinking about him. It was unprovoked and he should have been concentrating on doing that tomorrow night.”
Certainly, Chisora looks in good shape, physically at least, having tipped the scales at 17st 3lbs – one pound off his lightest-ever weight for a bout. Klitschko, meanwhile, came in three pounds heavier, at 17st 6lbs.