The boxing ring was the most peaceful spot. All around it, the German Hell’s Angels and Turkish hooligans were chaotically brawling.
This sort of hostile reception was the stuff of nightmare but, backstage consumed by his own thoughts, was Chris Eubank Jr.
On Saturday live on Sky Sports in Cardiff, his opponent Liam Williams’ home city, Eubank Jr will again walk to a ring where the entire building is desperate for his demise. But his experience in Germany five years ago has hardened him to such animosity.
The clues about what awaited Eubank Jr were growing rapidly in the days prior to his fight with Avni Yildirim.
He opted against appearing at a public work-out, an environment in Yildirim’s back yard which had already become intimidating.
Eubank Jr’s no-show caused a spectacular press conference brawl – the moment from the week that was even more memorable than his eventual knockout punch.
Yildirim’s manager Ahmet Oner was so incensed by the “arrogance” of the British visitor that he hurled a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse which showed no sign of stopping.
As security stepped in to usher him away, Oner’s anger increased and he butted heads with a member of Eubank Jr’s entourage.
“The guy went nuts because he knew that his fighter was in deep waters,” Eubank Jr now remembers.
“This was his way of expressing the uncomfortable situation that he was in.
“He knew his fighter would lose. So he targeted one of my security guys.”
The atmosphere on the night of the fight intensified when even Yildirim’s supporters appeared divided. The German and Turkish factions of his fan base spilled over in their volatility before the main event was even close.
“Before I went out, my dad came into the changing room and told me: ‘I don’t think you should wear the Union Jack like you usually do’,” Eubank Jr recalls.
“It was mayhem.
“I thought for a second: ‘Maybe we should rethink this’.
“But then I decided that I was representing my country and I should keep the flag. It caused some extra heat when I walked to the ring but I thrive from that.”
It was either foolhardy or incredibly brave.
Eubank Jr, flanked by his famous father, emerged with the Union Jack around his shoulders.
“It was very hostile,” he says.
“I walked out to see signs saying ‘welcome to hell’ and ‘you are going to die’.
“People were spitting and shouting at me.
“I was there to do a job, not to get hung up on the crowd.
“The same guys who were booing me were asking for pictures and saying ‘well done’ after.”
In just three rounds, Eubank Jr clubbed Yildirim with a brutal uppercut and knocked him out. He stood there, chest puffed out, having finally forced the vociferous crowd to be silent.
“I will have more fans in Wales than I did in Germany,” he smiles now.
Williams, set to welcome Eubank Jr to his home city, is wary of relying on the hostility: “I need to keep a cool head because the crowd will be crazily screaming for me, and it is easy to get dragged into a fight.”
Eubank Jr has seen it all before. He has spectacularly silenced a crowd on away turf once before but knows he must do it again to end his personal vitriol with Williams.
Saturday February 5 in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Saturday February 19 in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Natasha Jonas vs Ewa Piatkowska – WBO super-welterweight title
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut
Saturday February 26 in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles
Nick Campbell vs Jay McFarlane – Scottish heavyweight title
Saturday March 5 in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza
Sunday March 20 in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs Steve Rolls