Alan Dawson – London
An entertaining heavyweight bout between WBC world championship incumbent Vitali Klitschko and game challenger Dereck Chisora on February 18 in Munich preceded carnage at the post-fight press conference as a ruckus broke out between Chisora and compatriot David Haye. The brawl has been described as a dark day for British boxing, prompting both parties to release statements amid potential sanctions with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC).
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Chisora's pressure-fighting tactic paid dividends as Vitali was given good competition. Credit: KMG/Dmitriy Abramov
Famed for his eccentricities and infamed for his erratic and volatile nature, Chisora (15-3-0, 9ko) made multiple headlines throughout the promotion of his clash with respected champ Vitali (44-2-0, 40ko) due to the notorious weigh-in slap, spitting water into the face of Wladimir just moments before the ring bell signified the commencement of combat, his refusal to play nice once fisticuffs were complete and, of course, the bloody altercation at the presser that saw Haye wield a glass bottle and left David’s trainer/manager Adam Booth with a cut forehead.
Wladimir – the younger brother of Vitali by five years and a member of the WBC king’s corner – expressed his “shock” and “deep embarrassment” over Chisora and his team’s behaviour. He said: “It saddens me how he represented the sport of boxing and disrespected the champion of the world Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in and fight night. But even more embarrassing and disgraceful to the sport was the post fight press conference.”
He continued: “There has to be consequences for these kinds of actions and must never be tolerated by the boxing organisations, the media, fellow boxers and boxing fans. It must be stopped, otherwise the sport of boxing is going to go down the hill fast! I hope some type of action is taken to show the world that the sport of boxing will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.”
Indeed, action does appear to be on the horizon, wholly from the BBBoC, the governing board for boxing in Britain who were, incidentally, absent from Chisora’s dressing room when both fighter and promoter – Frank Warren – were in need of their assistance most due to Wladimir’s protestations over the way chief second Dean Powell was wrapping Chisora’s hands. The escalating issue, which saw Chisora momentarily put his hands down and state he would not box under those conditions was, instead, alleviated by Warren.
The in-ring incident where Chisora spat a mouthful of water over Wladimir was most likely a response to what he perceived to be the changing-room mind games. It does not, however, excuse an action in a sport that has disciplined foundations and the General Secretary of the BBBoC, Robert W Smith, has said that Chisora will be brought before the Stewards of the board on Wednesday, March 14: “under Regulation 25 (misconduct) with regard to his behaviour prior, during and after his contest for the WBC heavyweight championship against Vitali Klitschko in Munich.”
“A further statement will be issued following this hearing,” Smith concluded.
Chisora, whose journey back to London was interrupted by a seven hour spell in police headquarters in Munich where he was questioned over his involvement in the Haye fight, has been swift to issue a statement: “I feel I must wholeheartedly apologise for my part in the regrettable scenes both before and after what was to be the biggest night of my career.
“Whilst my behaviour was inexcusable, there were many things that went on behind the scenes that ultimately caused my frustrations to boil over, however this is of course no excuse. I cannot go into the specific details at the moment as the BBBoC will be investigating this matter and also the altercation that took place between David Haye and myself where I was struck by a bottle.
“I have let my family, my team and worst of all the sport I love down. I acknowledge that my actions were totally unprofessional, with or without provocation. I acknowledge that I have a duty as a professional boxer to conduct myself properly at all times, especially with boxing being a sport of controlled aggression.
“In Munich I fully cooperated with the German authorities and as a result I was released without charge. I will be making no further comment at this stage and will wait for any formal hearing to take place.”
Haye, himself a former champion of the heavyweight division and a unified world titlist at cruiserweight, was also wanted by police for questioning yet he could not initially be found, leading to headlines in the UK claiming he was on the run. This was far from the case as the Hayemaker had caught an earlier flight due to the threats leveled against him by Chisora… he was told he would be shot and burned.
He said: “I heard Chisora say he planned to ‘shoot me dead’. In light of [what] Chisora had [said] in front of the world’s media, it seemed far more appropriate for me and Adam [Booth] to leave the hotel as quickly as possible. Consequently, I left Munich on an earlier flight on Sunday morning.”
The BBBoC have no jurisdiction over Haye as the fighter is currently retired. General Secretary Smith confirmed: “With regard to Mr. David Haye… [he] is not a licensed Boxer with the BBBoC.”
The 31-year-old Haye, though, expressed his desire to aid any inquiry: “If requested, I shall happily assist the boxing authorities with any investigation they wish to launch and, ultimately, hope that all lessons learned from this incident will be implemented.”
Haye, speaking out “with regret” over the brawl, explained his presence in Munich was “accredited” with a British broadcaster. He continued: “During the post-fight press conference, I was stood at the back of the room. It wasn’t until Bernd Boente said my name and involved me in the press conference that I commented. I was then happy to banter back and forth with Boente and Klitschko, keen to ascertain whether he [Vitali] would stay true to his word and reiterate his desire to do what his younger brother couldn’t do – knock me out.
“At this point Chisora began firing insults at me from his position on the top table. Moments before declaring he wanted to go face to face with me, Chisora assured the gathered media that he would give me ‘two slaps’. Chisora had, of course, already been shrouded in controversy that weekend.
“Despite this, Chisora climbed down from the top table, removed his robe and then walked towards me, entourage in tow, in an aggressive manner. I held my ground but, unfortunately, he caused a serious disturbance to occur, something which threatened to damage the reputation of the sport we both love. Regrettably, some members of his entourage also encouraged the chaos.
“I realise I am no angel – and don’t mind a bit of professional trash-talk to help raise boxing’s profile but, during my 21 years in the sport, I have never been involved in, or even witnessed, such a serious fracas. I also hope Dereck Chisora is able to learn from his mistakes this past weekend, right the wrongs and then go on to fulfil his potential in the boxing ring.”
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