Billy Joe Saunders has been accused of throwing half-a-chicken at heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder after a video surfaced on social media showing the British middleweight running out of a Nando’s restaurant in Belfast.
The pair are in the Northern Irish capital ahead of Saturday night’s heavyweight bout between Tyson Fury and Francesco Pianeta, with Carl Frampton also headlining the bill at Windsor Park.
Should Fury come through the fight unscathed he is widely expected to fight WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, who crashed Friday’s weigh-in and came close to blows with both Fury and his father, John.
But the bad blood between the two camps continued into the night after videos emerged on Twitter accusing Saunders – a close ally of Fury’s – of throwing half-a-chicken at Wilder and his friends in a Nando’s restaurant.
The dispute between the two professional boxers is understood to stem from comments made by both of them earlier this year, with Saunders labelling Wilder a "racist c***" after he claimed promoter Eddie Hearn was using Anthony Joshua to make money for himself. Two two initially shake hands before Wilder asks about Saunders' past comments, and when he admits that he did call him the offensive slur, the two start to square up before a fight breaks out.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his victory over Luis Ortiz earlier this year, Wilder said: “Eddie Hearn is just another white man milking a black man, that is all.
“It's easy. It's about time for somebody to say it and come out with it and I don't care who hears it. I don't hold my voice and I don't have any filters, I speak what I think.”
But addressing the comments, Saunders told iFL TV: “He is a racist c*** I think, I personally think he is. “Questions about promoters using fighters, he's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
“When I read them, I thought you can't be saying that. I've got mates from all different nationalities and you can't come out and say that. It's unprofessional.”
Saunders and another man are seen sprinting out of the restaurant, closely followed by another man who slips over as he gives chase – who is believed to be Wilder’s brother – and the two groups spill into the street before Saunders gets away.
Saunders, the unbeaten WBO middleweight world champion, was not at the weigh-in on Friday afternoon, but did post a picture on social media that showed him wearing a similar shirt to the one that the man in the video was wearing, alleged to be the Welwyn-born boxer.
A date of 17 November in Las Vegas has been prepared for Fury and Wilder’s anticipated fight and Fury demonstrated further signs of progress by weighing in at 18st 6lbs – significantly lighter than the 19st 10lbs he was for his comeback fight against Sefer Seferi in June.
The 30-year-old cut a relaxed figure alongside Germany's Pianeta, who at 18st 2lbs was narrowly lighter, and Fury remained cool when 'Bronze Bomber' Wilder came into view yelling his trademark "Bomb squad", to which John Fury apparently took offence.
Following initial attempts to shout each other down, the 54-year-old Fury aggressively approached Wilder before he was restrained by a security guard and his son's trainer Ben Davison, and further shouting continued.
It was in the crowded reception area of Belfast's Europa Hotel, after the weigh-in was staged in a function room, that the 32-year-old Wilder then had his confrontation with Tyson Fury, the former WBA, WBO and IBF champion.
The two similarly shouted at each other, and also had to be separated before the threat of violence grew, even if Wilder consistently remained calm.
He has targeted Fury since negotiations for a unification fight with Anthony Joshua ended unsuccessfully, and of Saturday's fight with the 33-year-old Pianeta, Wilder said: "Fury's going to win, then I'm going to knock him out.
"Joshua's old news. The new kid in town is Fury. Ours is the biggest fight."
Of John Fury, he added: "I'll get my grandfather out of the grave to knock him out."
The second fight of Fury's comeback features prominently on the undercard of Frampton's fight against Luke Jackson.
Interim WBO featherweight champion Frampton, 31, appeared dry on the scales and after stripping naked came in exactly on the nine-stone limit.
It is routine for the main-event fighters to appear among the last at a weigh-in, but on this occasion they were instead first, contributing to the belief that Frampton had struggled to make weight.
Australia's Jackson, 33, was 8st 12.8lbs, and similarly to Wilder, the IBF champion Josh Warrington will be ringside in the expectation of him next fighting Frampton.