MUNICH — Vitali Klitschko unanimously outpointed British challenger Dereck Chisora on Saturday to keep the WBC heavyweight title.
Chisora found little support from the sellout crowd of 12,500 after his slap on Klitschko at the weigh-in Friday, and ensured the ill-feeling continued when he spat in the 40-year-old's face as the champion's record was being called out.
Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir, who holds the IBF and "super" WBA titles as well as the minor WBO and IBO belts, acted as a buffer as Chisora goaded his opponent.
Vitali was clearly incensed, but it took some time before he could assert control against the 28-year-old Briton's aggressive approach. His greater reach and experience made the difference.
The judges scored it 118-110, 118-110 and 119-111.
Klitschko improved his record to 44-2 with the 10th successful defense of the title he won from Corrie Sanders in 2004.
It was arguably the toughest bout he's had since losing on a technical knockout to Lennox Lewis in 2003.
"I'm not proud of my performance tonight because I feel I let my fans down," Klitschko said.
The Zimbabwe-born Chisora dropped to 15-3 after his third loss in his last four fights, but he had fans in Munich's Olympiahalle worried as Klitschko appeared to tire from his relentless attack.
Sensing an upset, they chanted the Ukrainian's name in the seventh round before Klitschko reasserted his dominance with a series of precision blows.
Chisora was bleeding from the lip after the first round, but seemed more than capable of taking Klitschko's repeated punishment.
Klitschko appeared to tire as the rounds progressed, the Briton maintaining the pressure by constantly forcing the initiative.
Klitschko eventually stamped his authority on the bout in the ninth round, catching Chisora with a huge right and seemingly picking his punches at will, and Chisora was hanging on in the 10th.
Chisora gave it everything he had in the 12th and final round as he sought a knockout blow, but Klitschko, knowing the work was already done, used his greater experience to safely see out the round, and maintain family dominance of the heavyweight division.