Boxing: Dereck Chisora and David Haye face life bans for post-fight brawl
DAVID Haye was wanted for questioning by German police today after brawling with fellow British heavyweight Dereck Chisora at the post-fight press conference in an incident that could lead to both boxers being banned for life.
Chisora was arrested on Sunday morning by police at Munich Airport and was later released without charge after being interrogated about the ugly fracas which brought British boxers into disrepute.
Haye, the former world heavyweight champion, had meanwhile gone to ground in the UK after fleeing Munich early yesterday morning and was unavailable for comment. However, Adam Booth, Haye’s trainer, said the retired fighter would comply with requests from the German authorities to return to Munich for questioning.
The sordid punch-up came after Chisora had slapped the face of world champion opponent Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in, and spat water in the face of Wladimir Klitschko in the ring at the Olympiahalle minutes before the bout, which was being broadcast in 150 countries.
The Daily Telegraph understands that the German Boxing Federation (BDB) is pursuing a lifelong ban for both British fighters and has contacted the British Boxing Board of Control requesting that Chisora’s licence be revoked.
The scenes of violence erupted after warring words between Chisora, on the news conference dais, and Haye, at the back of the press room. Chisora left the stage, approached Haye and went nose-to-nose before appearing to push the former champion and initiate the brawl which lasted at least five minutes.
Haye appeared to throw the first punch, while clutching a bottle, and as the pair grappled on the floor, knocking over cameras and tripods, both entourages became embroiled in a scene of mayhem witnessed by more than 150 journalists who had packed into the room.
Haye then fought with Chisora’s trainer, Don Charles, both men throwing punches, with Haye lifting a camera tripod and swinging it in front of him. Chisora shouted “I am going to shoot you, I’m going to physically burn you” at Haye while claiming he had been “glassed”. The confrontation between the pair left Haye’s manager, Adam Booth, with a facial cut.
Police were called to the scene and are investigating attempted aggravated assault, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in Germany. Officers went to Haye’s hotel in the early hours and were knocking on doors and questioning guests in a bid to find the former world heavyweight champion.
The German police authorities had yesterday requested footage of the incident from host broadcasters RTL, although a plethora of videos of the melee had gone viral on the internet.
Munich police spokesman Gottfried Schlicht said: “We don’t know where Haye is. We want to speak to him about what happened last night. We have to hear both sides of the story. It’s not a charge against David Haye. We have to report everything that happened. Maybe Haye has gone home. Then maybe we would talk to our colleagues in Great Britain.”
Booth told The Daily Telegraph on Sunday night: “We have not been contacted or called by the German police. Of course we would answer any questions, and would go to Germany to be interviewed. We have nothing to run away from.”
Booth revealed that Haye, and his two staff, had checked out of the Hilton Munich Park at around 2am, almost immediately after the press conference. Both Haye and Chisora were staying at the same hotel.
“We left the press conference, and it would have been stupid to go back to the same hotel as Chisora and his mob,” Booth said. “He had said he was going to assault David, and then screamed he was going to shoot him and burn him. We decided to go to the airport and get an early flight home.
“What David did was a defensive reflex. The man said he was going to slap him, walked 20 yards towards him, took his jacket off, went straight into a headbutt and shoved his fist into David’s chin. Everything was a defensive reflex from David.”
There had been talk of Haye coming out of retirement to fight Vitali Klitschko this summer, but Booth added: “It’s over. They clearly don’t want to fight. It’s finished.”
Frank Warren, Chisora’s promoter, said: “It was totally unacceptable. I was really, really disgusted that Dereck spat water at Wladimir Klitschko in the ring. That was unbelievable.
“Then he has a great fight, and it turns into a disgusting scene that was totally unacceptable from a boxing point of view, but makes you feel ashamed to be British. It was like football hooliganism, just awful.”
He added: “There is no doubt that Dereck did not throw the first punch, I don’t care what anyone says. But it was all confrontation, and all pretty stupid. The whole thing was totally ridiculous.”
Wladimir Klitschko, who admitted he had been “close to losing self-control” when Chisora spat water in his face, released a statement on Sunday night. He said: “I am shocked and deeply embarrassed by the actions of Dereck Chisora and his team over this past week. There has to be consequences for these kinds of actions and they must never be tolerated by the boxing organisations, the media, fellow boxers and boxing fans.”
In the UK, the British Boxing Board of Control will launch an investigation, according to the governing body’s secretary Robert Smith.
“It was extremely disappointing and disgusting, really,” Smith said. “There will be a hearing, and I’ll be contacting the German boxing authorities, and the police. I’ve seen the footage and it doesn’t do the sport, or Britain, any good. It was like 'Brits abroad’.”