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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 June, 2003, 04:18 GMT 05:18 UK
Lewis backs stoppage
Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis
There's no way he could finish the fight
Lennox Lewis
Lennox Lewis believes there is no way Vitali Klitschko would have been able to go the distance in their WBC heavyweight title fight.

The fight was stopped after the sixth round because of a deep cut above Klitschko's left eye.

The Ukrainian challenger was leading on all three of the judges' scorecards after dominating Lewis for the majority of the six rounds.

But Lewis believes he would have got to his man in the end.

"There's no way he could finish the fight. I was just getting to him," said Lewis.

"He would have got knocked out in the next couple of rounds.

"Look at the state of his face."

Although blood was pouring out of Klitschko's eye by the time of the stoppage, it appeared Lewis was the one in the most trouble, having been repeatedly staggered during the contest.

I wanted to be in a dog fight. I'm tougher than him
Lennox Lewis

But Lewis said that it was his strategy to take Klitschko into the later rounds and wear him out.

"He's never been in a dog fight," said Lewis.

"My plan was to go in there and stick with him.

"I wanted to be in a dog fight. I'm tougher than him."

When asked about a rematch, Lewis said he would be willing to grant Klitschko another chance "if the money is right".

A clearly disappointed Klitschko attributed his strong showing to fighting at a pace that did not suit Lewis.

"I know Lennox Lewis does not have good condition," said the 31-year-old.

"It was my strategy to make him fight more and more."

He's very heavy but he don't punch me very hard
Vitali Klitschko

The man who advised the fight to be stopped, Dr Paul Wallace, was adamant he had made the right decision.

"He (Klitschko) had to move his head to see me. At that point I had no other option than to stop the fight.

"If he had to move his head to see me, there was no way he could defend himself."

Klitschko believed that the cut was opened by a headbutt, although television replays indicated that a slashing right hand from Lewis did the damage.

But the giant Ukrainian was unhappy with the stoppage.

"I see very well - I don't know why the ref stopped the fight.

"He's very heavy but he don't punch me very hard.

"He never punched me hard with his right hand - I saw every punch.

"If referee doesn't stop it, I win the fight and knock him out in 11 or 12th round.

"I show everyone I can beat Lewis. I am distraught with this decision."

Who would have won if the fight had not been stopped?
6439 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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