Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Haye eyes second Klitschko option

British boxer David Haye is targeting a September showdown with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

Haye had been due to meet Vitali's brother, IBF and WBO champion Wladimir, on 20 June but suffered a back injury which led to the fight being cancelled.

Wladimir will instead meet the joint WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev in Germany, leaving Haye to pursue other options.

"David's looking to fight in September. If Vitali wants to fight he would be up for it," said his manager Adam Booth.

Haye picked up the injury last week while training at his Cyprus training camp and returned to the UK to have "intensive physiotherapy" on Saturday.


He insisted he would be ready to fight Wladimir Klitschko on 11 July, three weeks after the original date, and when the fight was called off Haye said he was "gutted" and "devastated".

Booth said they had tried everything to get the 28-year-old fit for the fight, which would have been a 60,000 sell out at German football club Schalke 04's Veltins Arena.

"He picked up the injury last Tuesday shadow boxing," said Booth, who is also Haye's trainer.

"It's an injury he had when he was a 16-year-old amateur, and it's come back.

"He tried painkillers, anti-inflammatories, tried everything he could. But he's struggling to sit down, can't pick things up, struggling to get in and out of the car.

"He's had treatment since. He goes into hospital on Tuesday for final treatment and will have eight days rest and then will be back in full training in 14 days from now."

Booth also denied the fight's cancellation had anything to do with the fact that sports broadcaster Setanta, who would have screened the fight, is struggling financially.

The postponement left thousands of British fans who had bought tickets for the fight disappointed, but Booth said they could get refunds if they contacted the agents they bought their tickets through.

Haye, the former undisputed cruiserweight king, was hoping to become Britain's first heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis retired in 2003.

Vitali Klitschko has only lost two fights, first when he was forced to retire with a shoulder injury against Chris Byrd in 2000 and the second when he was stopped on cuts by Lewis in 2003.

David Haye

He was ringside to watch Haye's five-round demolition of Monte Barrett in London last November in only his second fight as a heavyweight.

Haye himself has admitted to being distraught at missing out on the fight.

"It's the worst few days of my life," Haye told BBC Sport.

"My whole life has always been about becoming heavyweight champion of the world, and I've been denied that opportunity.

"I'm absolutely gutted. It was the biggest selling indoor fight in history. It doesn't get any worse than this.

"I've had back problems in the past that were manageable, but last Tuesday I did some shadow boxing and after throwing a right hook my whole back cracked and I couldn't move. It's sickening."

The 28-year-old now plans to return to action in September and hopes an announcement on an opponent will be made by Booth in the next couple of weeks.

"Adam will be beating the drum now to try and find an opponent and in an ideal world it will be for a world title," added Haye.

"All I can do is get focused on getting fit and fingers crossed in the next couple of weeks we will know who and where I will be fighting next."

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