Holyfield and Ruiz now set for red October

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Don King has announced a provisional date of 6 October for the World Boxing Association heavyweight title fight between the defending champion, John Ruiz, and Evander Holyfield. "It is what we call a working date," said a spokesman, Alan Hopper, yesterday.

A neck injury to Ruiz caused the postponement of the fight, scheduled for 5 August in Beijing. Ruiz's camp said the fighter would need six to eight weeks to recover.

Hopper said King and his Chinese counterpart, Great Wall International Sports Media, had yet to clear the new date with American pay-per-view and Chinese television schedules. Niu Lixin, the Great Wall chairman, said Beijing would still host the fight, its first professional world title bout. However, he said the venue, the ageing Capital Gymnasium, could change.

The fight will be their third meeting, with Holyfield clinching the first bout on points and Ruiz gaining revenge in the rematch, winning on points after 12 rounds last March.

The winner could be paired with the winner of World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation title holder Hasim Rahman's rematch with Lennox Lewis.

Julius Francis faces the prospect of a British Boxing Board of Control fine for refusing to change his shorts before Saturday's British and Commonwealth heavyweight title fight with Danny Williams at Wembley.

Francis, counted out at the fourth round, will appear before the monthly meeting of the Board's Southern Area Council tomorrow over the breach of regulations. Their rules state that all boxers must wear different coloured equipment.

The former champion had 25 per cent of his purse withheld by the board after insisting he wore black shorts.

Williams wanted black and, as champion, was entitled to first choice, but reluctantly agreed to wear white trimmed with red.

A similar situation arose when the pair first met in April 1999, but Francis got his way, being the defending champion on that occasion.