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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July 2005, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Klitschko handed fight ultimatum
Vitali Klitschko
Vitali Klitschko is still considered the top heavyweight
WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has been ordered to defend against the winner of an eliminator between Hasim Rahman and Monte Barrett.

Klitschko has not fought since beating Britain's Danny Williams in December.

And the Ukrainian 33-year-old could be stripped if he fails to set up a showdown with Rahman or Barrett - who fight on 13 August - by October.

Klitschko is still regarded as the kingpin of the heavyweight division despite his relative inactivity.

But the WBC's decision will be perceived as a victory for promoter Don King, who now has some control over three major top-weight belts.

Rahman and Barrett are backed by King, who also promotes IBF title holder Chris Byrd and WBA champion John Ruiz.




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