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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Sunday, 8 November 2009

Haye & Klitschko target showdown

Vitali Klitschko and David Haye
Vitali Klitschko and Haye could finally meet in the ring next year

WBA champion David Haye and WBC king Vitali Klitschko want a heavyweight unification clash next year.

The Ukrainian told BBC Radio 5 live he is "ready to give Haye a fight and to knock him out" once he has got past American Kevin Johnson on 12 December.

Briton Haye, who faces a mandatory defence against former WBA champion John Ruiz, responded: "Let's get it on. I look forward to a mega-showdown."

Haye took the WBA title by outpointing Russian Nikolay Valuev on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Londoner won a majority decision in Nuremberg to become the first British world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis retired in 2003.

Haye has already seen one bout with Klitschko fall through and also pulled out of a June meeting with Klitschko's younger brother, IBF and WBO champion Wladimir, because of a back injury.

"It is very difficult to say what will happen in the future because Haye is so unpredictable, but I am ready at any time to fight him," said Klitschko, 38.

"I am the holder of the WBC belt, the belt that Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and George Foreman held.

"The WBC belt is the best in the world and I am ready to fight anyone in the world and prove that I am the strongest."

However, any meeting between Klitschko and Haye would only happen after they fulfil their contractual obligations first.

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"I have to defend against Ruiz because that was part of the deal for me to fight Valuev," said Haye. "Ruiz took money to step aside on the understanding that he would fight the winner.

"So I have to fight him as he is the mandatory challenger and they would strip the title off me if I didn't."

That bout may take place in London, possibly in March next year, but the pair need to overcome injuries first.

Haye revealed that he broke his right hand in his victory over Valuev, while Ruiz suffered a nasty cut during his win against Adnan Serin on Saturday's undercard in Germany.

Leading American promoter Richard Schaefer insists Haye is now the most marketable world champion in the sport.

"Valuev was a great champion and an amazing attraction but today is really the beginning of a new time for the heavyweight division and the sport of boxing," said Schaefer, who is chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions.

"There are a lot of champions and stars out there but really very few who have the talent and skills inside the ring but who can transcend that with their charisma outside the ring.

"And if you were to rank those champions, then the only one at the top is David Haye."

But British promoter Frank Warren does not rate Valuev and believes Haye's quality as world champion can only be judged when he faces one of the Klitschko brothers.

People talk about Valuev like he is something special... he is probably one of the poorest heavyweights ever seen

Promoter Frank Warren

"Nobody can tell me Valuev is a quality heavyweight. He is not even an average heavyweight," said Warren.

"People talk about Valuev like he is something special. He is probably one of the poorest heavyweights ever seen.

"Everybody gets carried away. Just because he is a giant of a man doesn't mean he is a good fighter.

"John Ruiz is a guy who was beaten by Roy Jones. It is when you start talking about the Klitschkos, they are totally different fights.

"They are guys who can box and throw punches. That is when you will see whether Haye can do it at that level. Beating Valuev is not the yardstick."

However, Frank Bruno hailed Haye's bravery in taking on and beating the 7ft Valuev, who had only lost one of his previous 51 fights.

"I thought he had the talent and the speed and ability to beat the guy," said Bruno, a former WBC heavyweight champion.

"It took a lot of guts to come from cruiserweight and fight a man mountain like he did. He stuck to his guns."

David Haye lands a right hook

Moment Haye clinches crown



see also
The making of Haye
09 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye shocks Valuev to take title
07 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye v Valuev photos
08 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye v Valuev - as it happened
07 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye v Valuev build-up photos
06 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Valuev dismisses threat from Haye
04 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye promises spectacular victory
03 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye 'aiming to knock out Valuev'
02 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye's tall order
03 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye calms fears over preparation
28 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Russian Valuev slams 'idiot' Haye
20 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Haye taunts 'circus freak' Valuev
12 Oct 09 |  Boxing
Valuev ends Holyfield title dream
20 Dec 08 |  Boxing


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