x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Haye a step nearer Klitschko bout

Talks over unification set to begin and Abu Dhabi is mooted as a possible venue for the long-awaited heavyweight clash.

Vladimir Klitschko, left, and David Haye pose for the camera.
Vladimir Klitschko, left, and David Haye pose for the camera.

David Haye has revealed negotiations with the Klitschko brothers will begin later this week as he seeks to unify the world heavyweight titles. Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF and WBO champion, issued a video message on Monday taunting Britain's WBA title holder and calling for a long-awaited showdown between the pair.

Vitali, his older brother and WBC champion, is also on Haye's radar as he looks to unify the belts and the Londoner confirmed yesterday that Adam Booth, Haye's trainer and manager, is set for talks with the Germany-based Ukrainians. "Adam said something yesterday (in response to Wladimir) and after a meeting on Thursday I will know more," Haye told Press Association Sport. "But until then, I'll leave Adam to it. I'm here relaxing and enjoying myself now."

Haye had been scheduled to fight Wladimir last summer before being scuppered by a back injury. Talks were then held about an autumn challenge against Vitali until Haye's camp walked away and fought Nikolay Valuev for the WBA belt instead. Haye, who successfully defended his title for the first time by stopping John Ruiz earlier this month, now hopes blockbuster clashes with the Klitschkos would be too big not to eventually come to fruition.

"You would assume so," he said. "But I'm enjoying my victory at the moment and that is it. "Adam is meeting their people, I think on Thursday, so there's nothing else to say." The likes of Abu Dhabi, Wembley and Stamford Bridge have been talked about as possible venues for such high-profile fights but a relaxed Haye is not concerned at this early stage. "It's going to be where it's going to be," he said.

Wladimir's video message addressing Haye on Monday accused the Englishman of avoiding him and his older brother. "David, you've bitched out on fighting both Klitschko brothers twice already and now is the time to make it happen," he said. "On behalf of the boxing fans around the world, I am officially calling you out to fight me. "You can't run away from me forever and you need to follow through with this fight to get respect. I'm ready. What are you waiting for?"

While Vitali faces London-based Pole Albert Sosnowski next month, Wladimir knocked out Eddie Chambers in March in the 12th round of a sterile contest. * PA Sport