Foreman forges Schulz showdown

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George Foreman has confirmed that he will defend his world heavyweight title against the 26-year-old German, Axel Schulz, in April. "The fight is firmly in the bag," the 46-year-old Foreman said in Hamburg yesterday: "Now everything is all offici al."

Foreman, who holds both the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation versions of the heavyweight crown, looked in danger of losing his WBA title for fighting the lowly ranked German instead of the highest-ranked available contender.

However, following a telephone call with his financial adviser, Henry Holmes, the 46-year-old American said: "The final approval is now only a formality. After days of to-ing and fro-ing this is great news for me."

The fight will take place in Las Vegas on 22 April.

Schulz, who turned professional in 1990, won a bronze medal at the 1989 World Amateur Championships in Moscow. He will be the third German to fight for a world heavyweight crown. In 1938 Max Schmeling lost to Joe Louis in a rematch of a fight the German won two years earlier. In 1966 Karl Mildenberger lost to Muhammad Ali.

The link with history seems to have been important for Foreman who has been visiting Germany in the last few days as a guest of a television station.

"There's one thing I want to get clear. I would never fight against Schulz if he wasn't a German," he said. "What I want to do is produce the same series as the boxing classics of the 1930s between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling."

The former heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, waiting for medical clearance in Nevada later this month to box again, has said he expects to be fighting for the title by the end of the year.

"I'm in great shape and I'm ready to fight," Holyfield said yesterday. "I expect to be the champion by the end of '95, so I just have to get to work."

Holyfield hopes to fight again in April or May should the Nevada State Athletic Commission give him the green light on 24 February. He has not fought since last April when, after losing the title to Michael Moorer, a heart ailment was diagnosed and he was put on medical suspension.

Holyfield's wish to fight again is founded on his belief that the current heavyweight division - which features Foreman as one champion and a relative unknown, Oliver McCall, as the other - lacks strong contenders.

"It's wide open right now," Holyfield said. "I feel I can get it."

Chris Eubank's 15th defence of his World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title, against the Dubliner Steve Collins on 18 March, is a sell-out.

The 6,500 tickets for the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet, County Cork, went on sale at 9am on Tuesday and had all been snapped up by 11am yesterday, said a spokesman for the promoter, Barry Hearn.