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7:23pm UK, Monday February 20, 2012
Dereck Chisora has “wholeheartedly apologised” for his post-fight brawl with fellow boxer David Haye, who said he will “happily assist” boxing officials with an inquiry into the fracas.
The pair could both face possible prison sentences in Germany after the episode in Munich, prosecutors have confirmed.
They clashed during the news conference after Chisora’s defeat on points to defending WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on Saturday night in the Bavarian capital.
Haye, who has returned to Britain, is wanted for questioning by police in Munich over alleged grievous bodily harm – and faces up to two years in jail if found guilty.
Munich police spokesman Wolfgang Wenger said: “It wasn’t very easy to see immediately what exactly happened. This is also part of the investigations.
“What we can see in the videos, and of course there may also be other evidence, it seems to be a case of assault, as well as suspicion of grievous bodily harm because perhaps a bottle or tripod was also used to hit someone.
I realise I am no angel – and don’t mind a bit of professional trash-talk to help raise boxing’s profile – but, during my 21 years in the sport, I have never been involved in, or even witnessed, such a serious fracas.
“This is grievous bodily harm. A threat would be if an actual threat was made to the life of another. This still needs to be clarified.”
Chisora, who has been questioned by German officers and has also returned to the UK, is suspected of malicious injury and threatening behaviour.
Malicious injury carries a jail sentence of up to five years, and threatening behaviour is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to one year.
Haye said in a statement he would help boxing authorities “with any inquiry they wish to launch” and blamed Chisora for instigating the punch-up.
Haye added Chisora “caused a serious disturbance to occur, something which threatened to damage the reputation of the sport we both love”, and also said he was “bitterly disappointed” over his part in the brawl. He did not apologise.
“I realise I am no angel – and don’t mind a bit of professional trash-talk to help raise boxing’s profile – but, during my 21 years in the sport, I have never been involved in, or even witnessed, such a serious fracas,” Haye went on.
“If requested, I shall happily assist the boxing authorities with any investigation they wish to launch and, ultimately, hope that all lessons learned from this incident will be implemented.”
Chisora was arrested and released without charge following the fracas with Haye
Munich police said they could turn to Scotland Yard for help as they try to track down Haye, who was not at his hotel in the German city when officers arrived to speak to him.
Haye – who does not face a British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) probe because he relinquished his licence on retiring last year – was earlier said by his trainer to be willing to return to Germany to be quizzed over the punch-up.
On Friday, 28-year-old Chisora slapped Ukrainian opponent Klitschko at the weigh-in.
He then spat water at the champion’s brother Wladimir in the ring and brawled with Haye at the Olympiahalle, threatening to “shoot” Haye.
Chisora was arrested by Munich police on Sunday as he was about to board a plane in Munich but was released without charge after questioning.
He will be hauled in front of a British Boxing Board of Control hearing on March 14 in relation to his conduct “prior, during and after” the defeat to Klitschko.
Chisora said: “I must wholeheartedly apologise for my part in the regrettable scenes both before and after what was to be the biggest night of my career.
“Whilst my behaviour was inexcusable, there were many things that went on behind the scenes that ultimately caused my frustrations to boil over, however this is of course no excuse.”
Chisora claimed at the time to have been “glassed” and reiterated his claim that he was hit by a bottle.
The pair have been accused of bringing shame on boxing following the expletive-ridden brawl, which started when Chisora began taunting Haye, who was in the crowd, about losing the WBA belt to Klitschko’s younger brother Wladimir last year.
Haye’s trainer Adam Booth said the former WBA heavyweight champion “would be more than happy to speak” to German police.
Haye addresses Chisora before the pair’s punch-up
Booth, who was left with a bloody gash on his head after being hit by an object during the melee, said he regretted the episode.
The trainer, who denied a tripod struck him, told Sky Sports News: “I love our sport… and anything that makes boxing look bad is a real shame.”
After the pair came face-to-face, Haye seemingly threw the first punch – with his fist clutching a glass bottle – and was seen trying to hit Chisora’s trainer Don Charles with a large camera tripod, before Chisora then repeatedly shouted: “I am going to shoot you” at Haye while claiming he had been “glassed”.
The pair fought for about five minutes as the Klitschko brothers stood on the sidelines looking stunned.
Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren has criticised his boxer’s conduct but pointed the finger at Haye, who had been commentating on the bout.
“It was an embarrassment for British boxing,” Warren said. “I would say they were total idiots.
“(But Chisora) didn’t throw the first punch, it’s as simple as that. He got hit in the lip with a glass or a bottle.
“I’m sure the police will get to the bottom of it in Germany.”
Former WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch described the clash as “unnecessary”.
“In the heat of the moment in the post-fight press conference emotions are high,” he told Sky News. “It spiralled out of control and it’s not good for boxing. It sets a bad example.”
Boxing writer James Garner said Chisora and Haye were treating the sport like “an arena for thugs” and should be penalised by boxing authorities for their behaviour.