Scott Quigg shoved Jono Carroll to the face while stood on the scales at a weigh-in that threatened to spill over.
Security had to restrain Carroll from responding on Friday but both boxers maintained eye contact and continued shouting at each other before settling their differences inside the ring in Manchester on Saturday at 7pm, live on Sky Sports Action.
Carroll was provoking his rival before Quigg had even joined him on the stage. When Quigg stood on the scales and flexed, Carroll teasingly felt his opponent's bicep.
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Quigg lashed out with a shove to the face and some angry words, lighting the touch paper before a bad-tempered super-featherweight fight that will shatter the loser's world title ambitions.
Ireland's Carroll continued winding up Quigg's home city Manchester crowd before a face-off where they were wisely kept apart.
Former world title challenger Carroll, who weighed 9st 4lbs, told Sky Sports: "I can grind people down and hurt people constantly. I am feeling a knockout.
"It comes down to youth, hunger and heart. He has already achieved what I want to achieve. I will take his head clean off his shoulders.
"His footwork is slow. His head movement is not amazing. His hand speed isn't as good as mine."
Quigg weighed 9st 3lbs and his trainer Joe Gallagher told Sky Sports: "Carroll is similar to a young, ambitious Quigg."
Carl Frampton, who ended Quigg's unbeaten record, told Sky Sports: "An issue Scott might have - he likes to punch extremely hard every time. Jono just throws a lot. Scott might get outworked.
"They will lock horns in the middle of the ring - there will be cuts, blood and guts.
"A lot depends on what Scott has left. It will be a brilliant fight but I edge towards Jono.
"At this stage of their careers there is more pressure on Quigg. If he loses, I don't see where he goes. It will be very difficult for Quigg to come back after a loss, if that happens.
"This fight would put him back in a position to fight the top guys in the division again but he has to win, the pressure is all on him, and it's about how he deals with it."
Hughie Fury wore white gloves and was 17st 7lbs, two pounds heavier than opponent Pavel Sour, 17st 5lbs, before a heavyweight bout which he must win to propel himself back into the ring with big-name rivals.
Zach Parker and Rohan Murdock were inside the super-middleweight limit for their WBO eliminator.
Anthony Fowler squared off with opponent Theophilus Tetteh - the Liverpudlian will have his first fight under new trainer Shane McGuigan.