Boxing: 'After Klitschko hit me I had a headache for days'

The tiny mountain village of Going, nestling high in the Austrian Alps is straight out of the Sound of Music. But yesterday the surrounding hills were alive with the sound of an ominous message for David Haye. It came from another British fighter, 31-year-old Ola Afolabi who is being paid to absorb pain as chief sparring partner to the fierce giant whose jarring jabs have earned him the sobriquet of "Wlad the Impaler".

Wladimir Klitschko, the WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion and Haye, the WBA title holder finally collide before a 50,000 crowd in Hamburg on 2 July and Afolabi warns that his fellow Londoner will not know what's hit him. Emerging from a four-round session with "Dr Steelhammer", he said: "You can see his hands in front of you and think you can block the punches. No way. That jab is something else. It is going to destroy Haye. A couple of weeks ago, Wladimir hit me with a right hand – I had a headache for four days. I thought I was having a stroke. This guy is awesome. He'll have too much muscle for Haye."

Afolabi, a former WBO cruiserweight champion is no mean performer himself. He has knocked out Haye victim Enzo Maccarinelli in nine rounds and has been schooled in Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym in Los Angeles. He says of the 6ft 6in Klitschko: "Look at his height, look at his reach. People give Haye much more credit than he deserves. He's fought mainly as a cruiserweight against easy guys. This is going to be a reality check. Wladimir is a legitimate heavyweight.

"I give it to Haye in that he has talked his way into a multi-million dollar pay day, but for my money, Klitschko wins in seven."

Afolabi had the distinction yesterday of putting Klitschko on the floor in the specially converted gym of the luxury complex where he is preparing for a fight expected to gross £30m – but it was not with a punch. It was a wrestling-type fall in which both got up grinning. It was two years ago that we had stood in the same secluded spot close to the ski resort of Kitzbühel watching Klitschko work out for a fight with Haye that was scheduled to take place at Stamford Bridge that summer. Then the session was interrupted by the news that Haye had suffered a back strain and the contest was off – an injury that coincided with the collapse of TV backers Setanta.

Now Klitschko says: "I hope Haye is going to show up this time. I do not underrate him as he has fast hands and he'll probably be the toughest opponent I have ever fought but his cockiness pisses me off and he is going to be punished. Actually, I believe he is not such a bad guy, he's just lost his mind in what he says and does. I don't think he knows what he is doing. I know he wanted to fight me rather than Vitali because he thinks I'm the weaker brother but we'll see."

As the 35-year-old Klitschko, whose brother Vitali is the WBC champion spars and sweats, three ringside screens repeatedly shows videos of Haye's fights as a reminder that the "Hayemaker" can hit – but also be hit. The Klitschko camp is run on strict disciplinary lines. Spar-mates like Afolabi are fined $150 if they turn up even a minute late for sessions which begin at 7am. Klitschko looks in peak condition with no sign of the stomach injury which caused the abandonment of his proposed bout with British champion Dereck Chisora.

Haye v Klitschko exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office HD and 3D – 2 July. www.sky.com/orderboxoffice

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us