Klitschko: I'll knock Haye out
Wladimir Klitschko (Gallo Images)
Hamburg - Wladimir Klitschko says he is looking forward to silencing David Haye when they clash on July 2.
"My plan is to hold him up until the final round and then knock him out," Klitschko said in Hamburg on Monday.
Klitschko, 35, who holds the IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight titles, takes on WBA champion Haye in Hamburg, where a crowd of 57 000 will pack a football stadium to see the bout.
"All this hype and interest is great for the division, but there will come a time when the talking stops and we find out who is the real champion," Klitschko said on Monday.
There is no love lost between the two, who were due to meet two years ago, but a back injury forced Haye out.
The Briton has repeatedly hurled insults at the Ukrainian and his elder brother Vitali, the WBC champion.
Haye, 30, has called Wladimir "Bitchko, an idiot, Vitali's sister" and "a fraudster". Before the cancelled bout, he posed for a mocked-up picture of him brandishing Klitschko's severed head.
Haye has promised to knock out Klitschko and even threatened to "decapitate" the imposing Ukrainian, but "Dr Steelhammer" says he will make Haye his 50th knock-out victim.
Klitschko has won 55 heavyweight fights. Haye has had only four, having come up from cruiserweight. His record stands at 25 wins, one defeat and 23 knock-outs from 26 fights.
He won the WBA title by beating Nikolai Valuev over 12 rounds in November 2009 and has defended his title twice. Klitschko has held the IBF belt since 2006.
"Wladimir thinks Haye is not the toughest opponent he has faced but let's see," said the Ukrainian's manager, Bernd Boente. "I think it is a very interesting match; the first time we have had a unification fight in many years."
Klitschko insists the fight has only happened because he has met Haye's demands for half the fight purse. "I have to tell the truth, I made this fight happen," he said.
"David Haye gets 50 per cent of the deal. I didn't think he deserved it with his performances in the past. But the man has been promoting himself and insulting the Klitschko brothers in a disrespectful way.
"I made it happen, he signed the contract and I hope this hype won't be for nothing and the fight happens."
Haye is talking of July 2 as the day when he will become the undisputed champion. Klitschko merely says the fight will inject some much-needed excitement into the division.
"This is exciting for the division and I am thrilled the fight will happen," said Klitschko. "We are hoping 10 000 British fans will come. I have seen how they are at football games in the UK.
"They are singing and they are really loud, it is going to be an exciting mix of cultures here."
Haye has promised an early knock-out, but Klitschko has always said he wants to make the Brit pay for his comments and then knock him out only in the 12th round.
"I have to give a lot of respect to David Haye. He is a really exciting fighter, he is a really good puncher, he's very quick," he said. "It's not going to be an easy job, but I know what to expect and I know what to do.
"I will use any advantage. My game plan has not changed in the past two years. They will be 12 long rounds and I hope he won't give up or get knocked out before the final round."
For gorgeous gifts at gorgeous prices, click here for the ultimate Christmas gift guide from Clicks.