Derek Chisora showed he is ready to “go to war” once again when he faces Kubrat Pulev at the O2 by squaring up to the Bulgarian heavyweight as they grappled on stage ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
The 38-year-old Briton is set to face Pulev in a rematch six years after the first contest between the duo in Germany, when Chisora lost a split decision for the vacant European heavyweight title.
Ahead of their 2016 fight, Chisora had sparked a mini-brawl after grabbing the back of Pulev’s head.
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Thursday’s build-up press conference at the Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel started calmly enough.
Pulev serenely declared he had been through “amazing prep”, while his promoter Ivaylo Gotsev previously stated his man was ready to “send Derek Chisora into retirement” on the back of what would be a fourth consecutive loss.
However, after Pulev suggested Chisora, wearing a baseball caps and sunglasses, appeared to be “asleep”, the British heavyweight, beaten by former WBO champion Joseph Parker in December, soon talked up his own hunger for the showdown.
Following an expletive-laden tirade – during which Chisora banged a clenched fist on the table next to promoter Eddie Hearn, breaking his watchstrap in the process – the two fighters eventually posed for what were literally head-to-head photos.
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After being pulled apart, they came together again when called back up onto the stage for another picture opportunity.
The men exchanged more unpleasantries before locking hands after Pulev offered his to Chisora, who held tight before leaning forward to grab the back of the Bulgarian’s head and again the security entourage had to intervene.
“In my 45 fights, it is the same chat,” Chisora had said during the press conference.
“I just want to fight – we can all sit here and say: ‘I have trained harder, have done this, it has gone really well’, but it doesn’t really matter for me.
“All I want to do is put my gumshield in, pull my gloves on, walk out into the ring and fight.”
In response to Pulev’s remarks, Chisora said: “I am not not tired, just tired of your bulls*** really, but it is alright.
“We have all got plans, but when the bell goes, you know what time it is – do you want to go to the other side?
“We know his style of fighting, stay on the back foot, keep it long and boring – my style is ‘f*** it, bite on the gumshield and let’s f***ing go for it’. That is what I am bringing.
“Do me a favour – don’t worry about me. Just worry about yourself and shut up.”
Chisora added: “You (Hearn) are paying me because I have got the product – the paychecks are getting bigger and bigger. And do you know why? Because I have got the product – and the product is f***ing war.
“He is saying he is going to punch me in my mouth, I am buzzing about that. Punch me in my mouth and I am going to punch you back.
“I love fighting and the only way you can stop me is if you knock me out. If you can’t do that, you are f***ed.
“I am geared up. I am going to f***ing war, that’s it.”
Pulev has only been beaten by Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua in a 31-fight professional career and the 41-year-old is ready to face Chisora’s challenge head on.
“Everybody needs a second chance, that is why I give him one, man to man,” the Bulgarian said at the start of Thursday’s press conference.
“It is going to be a really interesting fight. We have old history and now we will see who is better than before.
“We will give everything and I am sure it will be a good fight.”
Pulev added: “He said it is war. For me this is not war. I don’t hate him, but we must stay in the sport, to be nice for the people.”