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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 November 2006, 13:33 GMT
IBF set to strip Calzaghe's belt
Joe Calzaghe with the IBF belt
Calzaghe ripped the IBF belt from Jeff Lacy in March
Wales' super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe is expected to be relieved of his IBF title.

Calzaghe, who also holds the WBO belt, has been told to agree to fight the IBF's number one contender Robert Stieglitz by December.

That seems unlikely to fit into the long-reigning champion's plans.

"It would bother me to lose the title, but business is business and I want the biggest fights and the most money," Calzaghe told BBC Sport Wales.

606 DEBATE: Give your reaction to this news

"[US TV network] HBO want me to fight an American next, and if a bout with [German-based Russian] Stieglitz doesn't add up we'll have to knock it on the head.

"I'm going to speak to [promoter] Frank Warren next week and I hope to find out who I'll be facing then."

Stieglitz, 25, has an unbeaten record of 29-0 (19 KOs), but there are no major names on his record and he is unattractive to the American television companies.

Robert Stieglitz
I don't think it's fair that Stieglitz should wait any longer

IBF championship committee chairman Lindsey Tucker

Calzaghe, WBO champion since 1997 and recognised by "The Ring" magazine as the world's leading super middleweight, won the IBF crown with a spectacular dismantling of Jeff Lacy in March.

He defended against Sakio Bika last month, but the governing body claim they only sanctioned that on condition that there was no rematch clause and that the winner would fight Stieglitz in December with no intervening fights.

"I don't think it's fair that Stieglitz should wait any longer," said IBF championship committee chairman Lindsey Tucker, whose organisation has put the potential Calzaghe-Stieglitz bout out to purse bids.

"He earned his right to fight for the IBF title and I want to see him get his shot next."

But Calzaghe is more likely to meet Rhode Islander Peter Manfredo Jr - most famous as the runner-up in US TV series "The Contender" - in the UK in March.

Peter Manfredo Jr
Manfredo is well known to the US television audience

"I wasn't impressed with him in "The Contender" but he's improved since and his last two fights have been great wins over Scott Pemberton and Joe Spina," said Calzaghe.

"That would be a tough, exciting fight, and he's a big name in the US.

"He would offer me a fantastic platform to showcase my skill across the Atlantic where I'm looking for a big-money fight against Bernard Hopkins or Jermain Taylor in June or July."

Taylor seems the most likely opponent of the two, the middleweight king stresssing his desire to step up and meet 34-year-old Calzaghe.

Calzaghe is a fight I would love because he's supposed to be the man at 168lbs

Jermain Taylor

"Calzaghe is a fight I would love because he's supposed to be the man at 168lbs and those are the guys I want," said Taylor, who claims his 9 December defence against Uganda's Kassim Ouma in Little Rock will be his last at the weight.

"It's all but impossible for me to make middleweight now, and I plan to retire in two years when I reach 30.

"Boxing is a job, that's all - what's the point of sticking around?

"To get extra, extra rich? I'm already rich, richer than I ever thought, so I don't need to be any richer. I'm going to get out and never look back."

The Calzaghe Record
05 Mar 06 |  Boxing
Calzaghe awarded British honour
17 Nov 06 |  Boxing
Calzaghe in talks over Manfredo
10 Nov 06 |  Boxing
BBC Wales Sport coverage
31 Oct 05 |  Wales


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