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Tensions rise in Birmingham

Derek Chisora and Sam Sexton had to be kept apart and James DeGale and Carl Dilks swapped insults during a lively final press conference yesterday ahead of promoter Frank Warren’s big show on Saturday in Birmingham, England. As the tension rose, Warren hailed the the show as one of his best ever. The card features a WBO light heavyweight eliminator, European championships at cruiserweight, middleweight and light middleweight, a British/Commonwealth heavyweight title clash, and four other title fights for regional belts.

Bookmakers have two of the European title fights on the card as even money. A double-tiered stage was required on Thursday to accommodate all the fighters in involved in the bill. Among the British favorites in action are Nathan Cleverly, James DeGale, Frankie Gavin, Matt Macklin, Enzo Maccarinelli, Matthew Hall, Kell Brook, Michael Jennings, Sam Sexton and Derek Chisora.

At one point Warren had to separate Sexton and Chisora as the pair first swapped insults, then come ominously together on the top table. The pair fought two years ago, Chisora winning with a stoppage in a scheduled six rounder. But both have since moved on to championship level, and Sexton promised a completely different fighter come Saturday night. “I promise that I am going to knock Chisora out,” said Sexton, as a war of words between the two continued to grow.

Dilks and DeGale were another pair who had plenty to say. When they fight on Saturday, the chance to box for the British super-middleweight title currently held by Paul Smith will be at stake. Dilks has insisted for some time that DeGale is over-protected, but such words today were met with scorn by the 2008 Olympic champion. “Talk is cheap, but this fight will end inside the distance, and it is only me who will win it,” said DeGale.




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