• Boxing

Klitschko performs U-turn over July 2 date

ESPN staff
February 14, 2011

The protracted saga of Wladimir Klitschko's fight with David Haye has taken another twist, with Klitschko now saying that July 2 may not be a suitable date for a clash.

His admission marks a significant U-turn from his stance last week, when he insisted that Haye only needed to give the green light for the bout to take place on that date.

Haye claims that a July 2 fight is impossible because he will not have the time to recover after his bout with mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev, which is likely to take place in May. The WBA champion says that he will be stripped of his belt if he does not take to the ring against Chagaev, who was beaten by Klitschko in 2009.

Now Klitschko has conceded that he is unlikely to have space in his schedule to face Haye in July, having agreed a bout with Dereck Chisora in April and Tomasz Adamek in September - although Adamek has signed to fight either Wladimir or Vitali, with the brothers to decide who steps up.

The situation is further complicated by Haye's plan to walk away from the sport in October of this year, when he turns 31.

"With Chisora and then possibly Adamek it's unlikely the fight can take place before the end of the year at the earliest," Klitschko told Sportsvibe. "But I'm not going anywhere and I suspect, even though Haye says he will retire, that he cannot afford to quit boxing before fighting me."

He went on to add his obligatory dig at Haye's record since becoming champion, which comprises two one-sided title defences against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison. "Does Haye really believe his legacy will be the Audley Harrison fight? If that's how Haye wants to bow out then he'll be betraying his fans and his legacy will be that of a loser if he never fights me."

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