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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 06:04 GMT
Lewis dismisses comeback report
Lennox Lewis
Lewis lost only two of 44 contests
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has denied reports suggesting he is ready to come out of retirement to fight Vitali Klitschko.

Lewis was quoted in the Sunday Mirror saying that he had been offered 21m to fight the Ukrainian later this year.

But the 39-year-old has now released a statement denying the reports.

"I want to reiterate what I said when I retired that I will be one of the few heavyweight champions to retire on top and stay retired," he said.

"I boxed professionally for many years and there will always be an attraction to the sport - but I'm not returning to the ring.

"The recent attention given to the possibility of a comeback is flattering and evidences the public's desire for someone to establish a legacy similar to the one I left behind as the true heavyweight champion of the world," he added.

The Sunday Mirror quoted Lewis as saying: "I'm going to start training seriously and I'm going back to England to start sorting this out.

"I need the money just like everyone else and it's just too good to be turned down."

The three-time world champion stopped Klitschko on cuts in June, 2003 when the Ukrainian was ahead on points.

He retired last February but hinted at a return last month after Danny Williams' crushing defeat at the hands of Klitschko.

"I wanted to get in the ring and show Danny how to beat him," the Briton said at the time.

"I've had to listen to a lot of rubbish from Klitschko and he is starting to get on my nerves."

Klitschko has repeatedly called on Lewis to fight him again and is always quick to point out he was winning their last fight before cuts intervened.

The initial reports of Lewis' return were welcomed by the Klitschko camp.

Bernd Boente, manager of the WBC champion, told BBC Five Live: "I have talked to Vitali and he's happy to go."

But Boente said his charge is currently focused on a mandatory defence against Hasim Rahman in May.

Rahman knocked Lewis out in 2001 to claim the WBC and IBF belts before being dismantled in a rematch later that year.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Vitali Klitschko's manager Bernd Boente




SEE ALSO
Lewis rules out comeback
23 Sep 04 |  Boxing
Steward backs Lewis
27 Apr 04 |  Boxing
Klitschko targets Lewis
25 Apr 04 |  Boxing
Lewis bows out as champion
06 Feb 04 |  Boxing
Lewis retains title
22 Jun 03 |  Boxing


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