Anthony Joshua was booed and told he will lose his world heavyweight title for a second time at the weigh-in ahead of Saturday’s fight with Kubrat Pulev.
The pair almost came to blows and twice had to be pulled apart by security with plenty of words exchanged between the champion and IBF mandatory challenger.
Pulev was first to weigh-in and tipped the scales at 17 stone 1lbs, six pounds lighter than his last bout with Rydell Brooker in November 2019.
While the Bulgarian had plenty of vocal support from his team at the back of the room, when Joshua made his way in he was roundly booed by the 39-year-old’s entourage.
Briton’s champion looked irked by the entrance and the continued shouting in his direction by team Pulev before he weighed in at 17 stone 2lbs, slighter heavier than his rival and three pounds more than when he outpointed Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019.
Even before Joshua stepped onto the scales there was plenty of chat between the fighters, but that only increased once the Olympic gold medallist had officially weighed-in.
The duo went face to face immediately with a security guard putting his arm around the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO holder and yet he was still able to point repeatedly in the face of Pulev, who was happy to talk back despite both wearing face masks.
When they did finally separate, it was short-lived and seconds later they were back involved in another heated exchange with numerous security and promoter Eddie Hearn in between the heavyweights this time.
A bump of their fists appeared to be the end of a fiery weigh-in, only for Pulev to state: “Tomorrow I show you buddy. I like you, respect you but tomorrow I show you because I am better than you.”
Joshua responded by telling Pulev he could try before he imitated with his hand the veteran talked too much.
Plenty of the focus ahead of Saturday has been on a potential ‘Battle of Britain’ between Tyson Fury and Joshua in 2021 and while the latter has insisted on several occasions he is completely focused on this fight, this heated encounter reiterated he must have tunnel vision this weekend.
There has been plenty of respect between the two fighters in the build-up to the main event at Wembley’s SSE Arena, but Pulev has now made it clear the pleasantries are over.