MUNICH >> Standing head-to-head for the customary “stare-down,” challenger Dereck Chisora slapped WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko during the weigh-in for their title fight Saturday.
Klitschko did not retaliate.
“I am going to hit back on Saturday,” the Ukrainian champion said. “He will get his beating.”
Chisora’s blow may 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 1/2 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, where their fights have become heavily choreographed events, with rock shows in the ring, laser lights and champagne flowing. The 12,500 capacity 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.
But the tale of the tape is all in Klitschko’s favor: he is 6-foot-7 and has an 80-inch reach; Chisora is 6-2 with a 74-inch reach.
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 at one of the news conferences to promote the fight. “I am 40 but I feel 25. I am in great condition, great form and have great experience.
“The main thing in life is experience, in all jobs and also in boxing. I have defended my title against many styles. I don’t want to break the record of George Foreman, but 40 isn’t old. I’ll show that.”
Chisora hopes his agility and quick hands will allow him to get inside and batter Klitschko.
“I’m looking forward to this fight,” Chisora said. “And I trained hard. And the way we’re going to be fighting will be a hundred miles an hour from the first round to round eight, which I promise you fans that he’s going down on.”
“Right now, I can smell fear in this corner right now. If you can’t smell it, I can. You know, right here I smell a bit of fear, to the opposite side, because they know they’re about to lose something massive,” Chisora said as he pointed at Klitschko earlier this week.
“I’m physically, emotionally, mentally looking forward to this fight because it’s going to be one heck of a fight, I tell you that now.”
Klitschko was not impressed.
“I’m really looking forward to teaching this young gentleman a lesson,” the champion said. “He is from Great Britain, but he’s lacking appropriate manners.”
Klitschko has had few problems defending his title nine times since winning it in 2004 against Corrie Sanders, and brings a 43-2 record into the fight. Chisora is 15-2.