See a video of the full press conference at the bottom of this article.
It should have been a press conference to savour for Vitali Klitschko. A few hours previously, he dominated Britain’s Dereck Chisora over 12 rounds to retain his WBC Heavyweight belt, unanimously winning the contest on all three judges’ scorecards – 118-110; 119-111 and 118-110.
Chisora had already raised the stakes with a public slapping of Klitschko during Friday’s weigh-in, which had left his reputation in tatters. The result? A £32,500 fine outside the ring and 12 round boxing lesson inside the ring. David Haye, working for BoxNation (who screened the fight in the UK), was in a semi-sensible mood hours before the press conference as he described the ramifications of Chisora’s slap. “Financially what Chisora did with the slap was a mistake. Forfeiting that part of his purse, when he will have to work in a nine-to-five job in a few months’ time, he might wish he hadn’t. It’s an expensive slap for someone who doesn’t earn a lot of money. Coming off two losses, if Chisora has walked away with £50,000, he’ll have done well. Shannon Briggs [American challenger who also lost to Klitschko] walked away with $25,000 after a 12-round beating. Vitali can punish you slowly and he did just that.”
To make matters worse, Chisora spat water in Wladimir Klitschko’s (Vitali’s brother) face before the bout, with the Ukranian admitting that “he was close to losing his self-control.”
During the post fight press conference Haye, positioned behind the journalists, interrupted, probably after a few drinks, to demand why he is not on Klitschko’s agenda. From that point on, Chisora and Haye traded insults. “David, you and me can get it on in London,” said Chisora. “David Haye is an embarrassment. Sky Sports don’t do Box Office because of David Haye. He messed up Box Office for all the young fighters and I’m going to give him two slaps for that. If David Haye is a fighter he should fight me. Let’s fight, me and you.” Chisora then lost his cool after Haye continuously goaded him about the fact he had lost his last three fights. He left the stage and confronted Haye with his entourage firmly behind him.
Unsurprisingly, the ‘Mexican stand-off’ lasted merely moments and blows were quickly exchanged. Haye threw the first punch whilst holding a bottle. After a scuffle on the ground the two men were separated but there were additional exchanges, most notably with Haye swinging a tripod, like a makeshift baseball bat, at Chisora’s trainer Don Charles plus Haye’s trainer and manager, Adam Booth, was left bleeding above his eye from an apparent glassing.
Wladimir Klitscko was surprised with the night’s events. He could not believe that Chisora was defiantly broadcasting that he was going to ‘shoot’ David Haye. “The sport of boxing shouldn’t be like that.”
Although Frank Warren (Chisora’s manager) blamed Haye for throwing the first punch he was critical of both fighters’ actions, “It’s brought the sport into a bad light, which is a great shame for all the fighters that do behave, and 99 per cent of them do behave and carry a lot of honour into the sport. Not that I’m condoning or trying to stick up for him, what happened was outrageous and it was wrong, but he certainly did not throw the first punch. Let’s get it right: the press conference afterwards was for the participants and for everyone involved in promoting on Saturday night. It wasn’t a David Haye promotion. It was David Haye who came in. It was David Haye who started shouting off and calling people out. It was certainly not Dereck Chisora who did that.”
Chisora was arrested on Sunday morning at Munich airport by German police but later released without charge. Meanwhile Haye fled the country immediately after the press conference (presumably before Chisora had the chance to take matters into his own hands as they were staying at the same hotel) before the police could question him, resulting in calls for the Brit to hand himself in. Haye has not commented but Booth said that Haye would comply and fly back to Germany for questioning by the authorities.
This regrettable incident does leave boxing in a truly sorry state of affairs. It is not the first time that scuffles have broken out amongst boxers but to be slapped, have water spat in your face and your own post-fight press conference ruined by two fools, no wonder the Klitschko camp want to look at opponents ‘outside Great Britain’ . The biggest losers should be the brawling Chisora and Haye – as the German Boxing Federation have rightfully asked the British Boxing Board of Control to revoke their boxing licences.
However, the real losers are the British public. We’re used to having ambassador heavyweights such as the late Sir Henry Cooper, Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno. Sir Henry would be turning in his grave after Saturday night’s events. After the public slapping, Vitali Klitschko legitimately said that although Chisora was from Great Britain, “he is not a gentleman”. A placid response from a true champion. Britain continues searching, in vain, for it’s own chivalrous heavyweight contender.
See the full press conference below.