HAMBURG (AFP) – World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko tipped the scales at slightly less than challenger Kubrat Pulev on Friday, but was the clear winner in the traditional pre-bout stare down.
Klitschko faces IBF mandatory challenger Pulev from Bulgaria on Saturday in Hamburg in the 17th defence of his world titles, with his WBO, WBA and IBO belts also on the line.
US boxer Shannon Briggs, who was escorted off the premises on Wednesday after attempting to gate-crash Klitschko’s open training session, also tried to disrupt the weigh-in to provoke the champion into fighting him, but was unsuccessful due to the volume of spectators.
The 38-year-old Klitschko tipped the scales at 111.5kg compared to the unbeaten Pulev’s 112kg, but the champion has a slight height advantage – at six foot, six inches (198cm) he is nearly two inches taller than Pulev.
But the Ukraine’s world champion was the clear winner in the rivals’ stare down, maybe motivated by Pulev’s pre-fight insistence that Klitschko fights “like a girl”.
“He has everything you need to be a world champion, but he has no heart. He’s like a girl,” insisted Pulev.
There is already bad blood between the pair after Klitschko’s manager Bernd Boente banned half of Pulev’s management team from Monday’s pre-fight press conference in Hamburg, which left the challenger fuming.
“This is playground rubbish, either everyone (from his team) comes in or no one,” he fumed before boycotting the media event.
The 33-year-old Pulev has 11 knock-outs in 20 victories on his unblemished record, while Klitscho has enjoyed 52 knock-outs in 62 wins with the last of his three defeats now over a decade ago.