By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
DERECK CHISORA struck the first blow ahead of his WBC world title challenge against Vitali Klitschko tonight.
But the Londoner was condemned by his own team for slapping the Ukrainian yesterday at the traditional stare-off following their weigh-in.
Chisora, 28, is almost certain to be handed a hefty fine by the British Boxing Board, who will withhold his £100,000 purse while they investigate the incident.
Klitschko was left with a massive red mark on the side of his face, and he yelled: “You are f****d now, Dereck – you are really f****d now.”
Chisora’s trainer Don Charles added: “It was wrong. I am speechless.”
It's 22 years since a no-hoper called James 'Buster' Douglas climbed into a Tokyo ring to face 'Iron' Mike Tyson.
Nobody gave him a prayer and one book- maker rated him at 40-1 ON to go down to the ‘baddest man on the planet’.
However, Douglas pulled off one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.
Tonight Dereck Chisora will be trying to emulate him in Munich.
“I will give all my fans back in the UK a fight to remember,” he said. “No matter what the bookies think, I will be returning to London with that belt, believe me."
Chisora is a 10-1 underdog in his bid to relieve Vitali Klitschko of the WBA world heavyweight title.
And he raised the stakes even further by slapping Klitschko in a weigh-in confrontation yesterday.
Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren said: “I’ve been involved in a lot of good things during my 30-odd years in boxing – but if Chisora pulls this off, it will be the biggest upset of the lot.
“I know Dereck has been predicting an eighth-round knockout, but that’s a very big call for him. “Both Vitali and his brother Wladimir are phenomenal fighters, easily the best of their generation, and it’s a big ask to expect to receive a decision against them in Germany.
“I just hope the judges won’t be fazed as they were in Finland when Chisora dropped a hugely conten- tious decision to local hope Robert Helenius in early December.
“That decision robbed him of the European title.
“Everything is against Dereck.Unfortunately,we’re on the pauper’s side of the fence, as far as the negotia- tions were concerned.
“And, as Vitali is obliging us with a voluntary defence, we’ve had to agree to a lot of things that we’d not have accepted had we been in a mandatory position.
“But Dereck is adamant that he wants the big fights and we can’t deliver any bigger than this.”
With Klitschko unbeaten for almost nine years, with 40 KO wins in his 45 fights and just two losses, it will be a daunting challenge.
At 40, he is 12 years older than the London bruiser, who has won 15 of his17 paid fights.
Warren says it will be a massive uphill task for his man, but he will be having a wager on a shock outcome.
He said: “What I do know is that Dereck goes into this fight 100 per cent both physically and mentally.
“In the shape he’s in, I guarantee he’d have taken care of the majority of the fighters who’ve taken Vitali into the later rounds previously.
“Vitali’s knocking on, age- wise, and I suspect he isn’t comfortable with a lot of speed and movement.”
PREDICTION: Dereck does have a puncher’s chance but I’m afraid I will have to go for another Klitschko win, probably around the sixth.