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David Haye to face John Ruiz in Manchester on 3 April

Haye annoyed by Ruiz no-show

Britain's world heavyweight champion David Haye will make the first defence of his WBA title against American John Ruiz in Manchester on 3 April.

Ruiz is the WBA's mandatory challenger for Haye, who defeated Nikolay Valuev in November to claim the title.

"It's been 10 years since the heavyweight championship has been fought in Britain," said Haye.

"Now it's time to showcase my skills again in front of the great British public," added the 29-year-old.

Haye had hoped to make the first defence of his title at London's O2 Arena or Millwall Football Club's New Den stadium.

But with both venues already booked Haye has been forced to switch to the Manchester Evening News Arena.

"I'm delighted to have the fight at Manchester's MEN Arena," said Haye.


"I've been there on many nights to watch Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, even Mike Tyson, and the atmosphere was always tremendous."

If he gets past Ruiz, Haye could face a fight later in the year against either WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, 38, or his 33-year-old brother Wladimir, who holds the IBF and WBO belts.

Ruiz, 38, has been beaten eight times in a 54-fight career, with one draw and 30 knockouts. He last fought in July, beating Adnan Serin inside seven rounds and is a former two-time heavyweight world champion.

Former opponents include Hasim Rahman, Evander Holyfield, Valuev and Roy Jones Jr.

"John Ruiz is a master at making great fighters look ordinary and we are very wary of the threat he poses," admitted Haye's trainer Adam Booth.

Londoner Haye has lost once in 24 fights, but has won his last 13, 11 inside the distance, and beat Valuev on points in Germany to become Britain's first world champion since Lennox Lewis.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to what I do best - throwing my trademark 'Hayemakers.' Ruiz is a come-forward fighter so I aim to get at him, break him down, and take him out in good style," added Haye.

"This is a very different fight to the one I had against Valuev. He is a pressure fighter, has quick hands and will try and take me into the trenches and I'm relishing that battle."

Ruiz, nicknamed 'The Quiet Man', passed on the opportunity to attend Tuesday's media conference in Manchester despite Haye's promotional company insisting that first-class plane tickets from the United States had been provided.

However, he later responded to Haye's claims he was "boring" and a "two-time champion who nobody wants" by saying: "What I saw in his last fight was boring, and he's calling me boring?

"How many punches did he throw against Valuev, 10 a round? I'm glad he's talking, he knows he's got his hands full."

Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, who promote both fighters, added: "With his explosive fighting style, heart, youth and charisma, David Haye is the most exciting heavyweight in the world.

"On the other hand, John Ruiz is a very experienced fighter who knows what it takes to dominate in the heavyweight division and to win when it counts in a big fight. I expect a great fight that fight fans shouldn't miss."

see also
Haye plots dual London showdowns
09 Nov 09 |  Boxing
British fans inspired win - Haye
08 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Ten to Tackle - Haye special
10 Nov 09 |  Fun and Games
The making of Haye
09 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Haye & Klitschko target showdown
08 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

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