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Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Klitschko camp confirm Haye fight

By Ben Dirs

Vitali Klitschko (left) and David Haye
Vitali Klitschko (left) met Haye at London's O2 Arena in November

David Haye will fight Vitali Klitschko in London next summer, the Ukranian's manager Bernd Boente has confirmed.

The deal was done after Briton Haye watched Klitchko's brother, Wladimir, retain his IBF and WBO heavyweight belts in Mannheim on Saturday.

"We agreed to do the fight next summer in London," Boente told BBC Sport.

"It could take place at Wembley, but maybe it's too big. I'd personally prefer Chelsea. I've been there a couple of times and I'm a fan."

London's former undisputed cruiserweight champion Haye, 28, knocked out American Monte Barrett in only his second heavyweight fight last month.

He immediately called out either Klitschko, although the younger but marginally smaller Wladimir seemed the more likely target.

Vitali, 37, boasts an impressive record of 35 wins and two losses from 37 fights, the most recent defeat at the hands of Lennox Lewis in Los Angeles in 2005.

I am not cherry-picking, I am going after the most dangerous fighter on the planet

David Haye

He reclaimed the WBC belt, which he had vacated in 2005 by announcing his retirement, with a comprehensive victory over Samuel Peter in October.

"This is going to be the biggest fight since Lennox [Lewis] and [Mike] Tyson," Haye, who will have no warm-up fight for Klitschko, told BBC Radio Five Live on Sunday.

"I have said from day one I am going to be the undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion. I have not disappointed. I am not cherry-picking, I am going after the most dangerous fighter on the planet.

"We sat down and talked numbers that made sense for both sides, and it's done and dusted. We agreed terms and just need to dot the i's and cross the t's. Plain and simple, this is how boxing should be."

BEN DIRS BLOG
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs

Haye also revealed that Britain's last world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who retired after a controversial cuts stoppage victory over Vitali Klitschko in 2003, has already offered his help.

Haye said: "I'm really good friends with Lennox. He wasn't impressed with Wladimir's performance against Hasim Rahman [a seventh-round stoppage on Saturday] either and thinks I would knock him out.

"Lennox has worked with me in the gym before, he's seen me sparring, he knows I'm the real deal. I'll definitely bring him on board in an advisory role.

"He's fought Vitali, he knows what works and what doesn't and if there's anyone to give me advice about strategy, it's Lennox. Maybe I'll go to the States where he is based. I've got six months, a long build-up to the fight, so why not?"

While Haye would be a big underdog against Vitali, who boasts 35 career knockouts, Boente, who also represents Wladimir, said the fight would reignite interest in the heavyweight division.

"This will be a very big fight across the world," said Boente. "The Klitschkos are heroes in Central and Eastern Europe and it's a fight [American television networks] HBO and Showtime would be very interested in.

"David brings something new and exciting. He looked great against Monte Barrett, who [WBA title-holder] Nikolay Valuev took 11 rounds to stop. Haye KO'd him in five rounds. He's young, hungry and very fast. It's a huge fight."

Boente added that Vitali's scheduled mandatory defence against Juan Carlos Gomez would not prove a stumbling block.

He added: "We'll talk to the WBC, but we'll go ahead with or without them. Vitali is the heavyweight champion of the world and this fight is bigger than the WBC belt."

see also
Clinical Klitschko stops Rahman
13 Dec 08 |  Boxing
Haye targets Klitschko brothers
16 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Klitschko hints at Haye defence
13 Jul 08 |  Boxing


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