MUNICH — Standing head-to-head for the customary “stare-down,” challenger Dereck Chisora slapped WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko during the weigh-in for today’s title fight.
Both camps had to be pulled apart Friday after the British fighter, his face partially concealed by a Union Jack handkerchief, hit Klitschko across the face with his open right hand and launched a series of insults.
Klitschko did not retaliate.
“I am going to hit back on Saturday,” the Ukrainian champion said. “He will get his beating.”
Chisora’s blow might have been the closest he gets to hurting the champion.
About the only advantage Chisora might have is his age.
The WBC champion is 40, while Chisora is 28. But Klitschko has a massive advantage in height and reach and few give Chisora a chance of an upset.
Klitschko weighed in at 243 ½ pounds, Chisora at 241 pounds.
Chisora has bravely predicted he will knock out the Ukrainian in the eighth round and claims he can “smell fear” in Klitschko’s camp. Klitschko has brushed aside such boasts but says he takes the British challenger seriously.
“Chisora can hit, and I do, too. So I don’t see it going 12 rounds,” Klitschko said.
The Zimbabwe-born Chisora is one of those who say the heavyweight division has become boring because of the dominance of Vitali and his younger brother Wladimir, who holds the other significant belts. But they remain huge drawing cards in Germany. The Olympic Hall is sold out.
“Everybody’s tired of you and your brother,” Chisora said. “There’s no excitement in the ring. It’s time for the new king. People want a new relief in boxing. Him and his brother have killed the sport I love.”
Vitali is the second-oldest boxer to hold a world heavyweight title behind George Foreman, who was 45 when he knocked out Michael Moorer to reclaim the WBA belt in Las Vegas in 1994.
Vitali’s usually jabs away at his opponents until he can deliver his big right hand. Chisora thinks the style is boring and has dulled the heavyweight division, but it has been effective.
“I’m going to have to prove not just my boxing skills but my age against Dereck,” Klitschko said. “I am 40 but I feel 25.”