Munich - Vitali Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title when he beat Dereck Chisora on points in Munich on Saturday night.
Klitschko won by 118-110 on two cards and 119-111 on the third but failed to knock the Briton down.
Chisora, who had brought the sport in disrepute with his pre-fight behaviour, forced the Ukrainian to go the full 12 rounds, earning grudging respect for his fighting spirit from the crowd in the packed Olympiahalle.
Having slapped Klitschko during the weigh-in and after spitting water into Vitali's younger brother Wladimir's face during the introductions, Zimbabwe-born Chisora forced the pace throughout, walking through his much taller opponent’s punches.
He did not land nearly enough of his own punches to make a real fight of it, but the 28-year-old Chisora proved his point that Klitschko was a boring fighter.
He took probably more than two dozen of Klitschko’s best rights, and a similar number of left hooks without once looking in danger of being knocked out.
Klitschko, still a largely one-dimentional plodder, failed to find the accuracy he needed to tag the short challenger and his timing was far from good. He also lacked the variety to make Chisora pay for his yobbish behaviour before the fight.
The champion improved his record to 44 wins in 46 fights, but still stands at 40 knockouts. The challenger, giving away 15 cm in height, dropped to 15 wins and three defeats, with nine knock-outs.
Chisora, having earned himself the reputation of one of the two bad boys of the heavyweight division - his foul-mouthed compatriot David Haye is the other - may have been right when he said it was time for the 40-year-old Klitschko to retire.
The animosity between Chisora and the Klitschko camp continued in the ring after the fight, with Vitali's brother Wladimir also involved in the scuffles and verbal clashes.
The promoters will now probably consider arranging for Chisora to fight Wladimir, who holds the other heavyweight titles.
While Vitali moves towards retirement and a career in politics in Ukrain, it may be left to Wladimir to teach the ill-mannered Chisora a few lessons. If they do meet, another huge crowd will turn up.
The tough British fighter surprised many critics by staying on his feet throughout the bout, although he was bleeding from the mouth for the last four rounds or so.
He may have earned himself, and the promoters, another big pay day.