The boxing community was left reeling last night after a routine press conference ahead of Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury's WBO title eliminator in Manchester on July 26 passed without incident.
Chisora, 30, who has had pre-fight dust-ups with both Vitali Klitschko and David Haye in the past, stunned the journalists present with a considered, respectful appraisal of his opponent and realistic expectations for the fight.
He said: “He's bigger, younger and probably fitter than me but I'm really looking forward to the fight.
“The chances are that he will win but I wouldn't begrudge him that provided I make a good account of myself.
“The heavyweight division could use some fresh blood and I for one wish him the best of luck for what promises to be a great career,” Chisora continued.
Fury, 25, real name Graham Felcher, was visibly shocked by Chisora's words and lack of physical violence and appeared to take a few moments to compose himself.
He said: “I'd like to thank Dereck for his kind words. He's an excellent fighter and has had a great career. I'm going to give it my all in July and I hope it's a great match-up for all the fans at home.
“Let's just hope no one gets hurt,” Fury concluded.
Sources at the British Boxing Board of Control say senior figures at the governing body are considering disciplinary action against the two fighters with some even suggesting that their boxing licences could be taken away.
Steve Bunce, frothy-mouthed freelance pugil pundit, said: “This was an outrageous affront to the great sport of boxing and these two guys ought to be ashamed of themselves.
“Where were the threats to eat each other's children, to rape their pets or put dog dirts through their grannies' letterboxes?” he asked.
“What's the world coming to when a couple of boxers, riding high on a wave of dehydration and a lifetime of blows to the head, don't have a bit of a scuffle in a press conference?” he said.
Fight fans on social media were similarly stunned by the press conference, with CockneyGeezer69 saying on Twitter: “I cnt belief that chisora and furry dint av sum handbags at least #chumps.”
SmithyDaLad, also on Twitter, was more succinct, saying: “Cunts.”
Other commentators have been more sceptical. Mary Condon, the Guardian's special correspondent for boxing as a metaphor for the decline of the working class, said: “This is a blatant publicity stunt, no doubt orchestrated by the paymasters of these poor young men to sell more pay-per-view tickets.
“Those in the media who have perpetuated this cynical non-story should feel ashamed of themselves for giving it the oxygen of publicity,” she concluded.