x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Wladimir Klitschko challenge to David Haye

Ukrainian eyes potential heavyweight unification bout with Briton.

Wladimir Klitschko has challenged David Haye to face him in a potential heavyweight unification bout on July 2.

The Germany-based Ukrainian will take on Dereck Chisora for his IBF and WBO titles in a rescheduled fight in April, which means WBA champion Haye must also take on the mandatory challenger for his title, Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan, before any fight with Klitschko can take place.

Klitschko told BBC Sport: "I think after talking so much nonsense (Haye) has to show up in the ring. He has been trying to be smart but eventually he put himself in a corner. He's talking about legacy - I don't see the legacy with him, to be honest with you.

"I think that it's not only my opinion but the opinion of a lot of fans. I know the British fans are looking forward to this fight and I'm looking forward to satisfying as well the British fans and to fight David Haye. I'm right here and I'm confirming that July 2, as I've said before, that's the date for the fight. Either David Haye takes it or he just leaves the whole thing there.

"We were agreed on the money, so that we split everything 50-50 and of course there is a lot of money to make, but money is not the issue right now. As I said, I can confirm the date - July 2 - and the answer from David Haye was 'I don't want you to fight before' and however. The date is confirmed. Germany or the UK? It doesn't matter."

Haye stands by his intention to retire from the sport when he turns 31 in October, and last month spoke about his determination to take on Wladimir Klitschko.

"Fight fans just want to see the best against the best - if only it was that simple," Haye said.

"Very rarely in boxing do you get a situation where you have all the pieces of the puzzle, all the politics have been smoothed over.

"Then all of sudden he announces he is fighting Chisora, knowing I have to then fight Chagaev.

"To then fight me after is impossible - it is a shame he has now shown his true colours.

"He is scared of getting knocked out and does not want to lose, fighting people on a good run.

"What is wrong with now? Nothing. It does not make sense, especially after all the public campaign to get me in the ring.

"This would be a once-in-a-lifetime fight. Once I retire, people will always ask him 'why did you not fight David Haye?' and he will have to live with that.

"If it does not happen now, it never will."