David Higgins has been goaded into making a bet of nearly $40,000 on the outcome of the fight between Joseph Parker and Dillian Whyte.

Higgins and rival promoter Eddie Hearn were convinced by heavyweight Dereck Chisora, an Englishman fighting on the undercard, to make the bet on the fight at the O2 Arena on Sunday morning and the pair eventually settled on £20,000 after initially being told to bet £100,000.

Chisora, who lost to Whyte in a contentious split decision in Manchester in 2016, provided most of the entertainment at the end of the 30-minute official press conference attended by more than 100 journalists at a Canary Wharf hotel when he said: "I think Eddie and this guy, you guys should have a bet, a £100,000 bet. You guys should shake on it right now."

To laughter from the audience, Higgins replied: "I don't have 100,000 grand."

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Hearn, who is also Anthony Joshua's promoter and isn't short of a few quid, asked Chisora: "I want to know who you're backing in this fight. Who would you put your money on?", to which the fellow Englishman said: "I'm a born-again [Christian], I don't gamble."

He added, in a masterful display of persuasion and pressure: "Don't go red now, you're giving all the big talk. Come on. Have a bet. Twenty grand. Shake on it."

The cheers and applause, Hearn and Higgins did shake on it. Parker is the favourite to beat Whyte, who like the Kiwi has also lost to Joshua.

Parker was impressed with Chisora's comic timing and delivery. "He made that press conference lively," he said after meeting the 34-year-old for the first time.

It was a far cry from Chisora's previous antics at press conferences. He threw a table at Whyte in the build-up to their bout and had to be separated by a cage at their subsequent meeting; the pair have disliked each other intensely for years.

Dereck Chisora. Photo / 123RF
Dereck Chisora. Photo / 123RF

Chisora, who was born in Zimbabwe, also spat water in Vitali Klitschko's face before he fought the Ukrainian in 2012 and has brawled with David Haye out of the ring. He has fought 36 times as a professional.

Chisora is fighting Carlos Takam, who New Zealand boxing fans know well from his fight against Parker (a unanimous decision defeat) in Auckland in 2016. Takam lost via a stoppage to Joshua in Cardiff last year.

In the stare down with Takam the eccentric Chisora bizarrely wore a backpack.

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"It's going to be a great fight between these two guys," Chisora said of Whyte v Parker. "One is a power puncher, the other likes to box.

"In my fight we're going to go to war, that's all I can say. I ain't gonna hold nothing back. By the time I leave the ring I want to be so tired they'll have to carry me back to the changing room. I'm ready for this fight. That's it.

The fight at the sold-out O2 Arena will be screened live on Sky Sports pay per view from 5am on Sunday NZT.

https://fanpass.co.nz/ppv/whyte-v-parker
https://www.sky.co.nz/parker-fight-competition
Patrick McKendry travelled to London with assistance from Duco Events