Heavyweights Sultan Ibragimov and Lance Whitaker got an early start to their upcoming fight when posing turned into punching at a promotional event on Wednesday, leaving a matchmaker in the hospital.
Scheduled to meet on Dec. 15 in Hollywood, Florida, Whitaker and the 2000 Olympic silver medalist were nearing the end of their news conference at a Manhattan steakhouse when they came to blows.
The 2.03-meter (6-foot-8) Whitaker reached for Ibragimov's throat, and the Russian responded with a left to the jaw. They were separated a couple of times, only to resume scuffling.
Sampson Lewkowicz, the matchmaker for Ibragimov, got caught in between the boxers, appeared to be hit by both, and wound up on the floor. Revived by paramedics, he was conscious when they wheeled him out.
Ibragimov (18-0) and Whitaker (31-3-1) will fight on a card that includes heavyweights Samuel Peter of Nigeria taking on Robert Hawkins of the United States in the main event, AP reports. А. А.