Boxing: Klitschko has Haye in his sights

WBC champion throws down gauntlet to Briton after easy defence of title

It was predictable business as usual for World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in Switzerland on Saturday night when his latest American challenger arrived in the ring without a plan, any heart and just the tiniest bit of desire.

Klitschko and his younger brother Wladimir own four versions of the world heavyweight title, and during the last five years they have met a seemingly endless list of American heavyweights, who came and failed miserably and will certainly not be missed.

Kevin Johnson added his name to the roll call of shame in Berne when he lost every single second of every round, and fought such a dismal fight from the opening bell that in another era his money would have been at risk. Two of the three judges made Klitschko win every round, but one of the judges actually scored a round in Johnson's favour, which is a total disgrace.

"It is simply not good enough to prepare for a fight and then to get in the ring and act like you are surprised that Klitschko is hard to hit," said David Haye's trainer Adam Booth. "David never even bothered to watch the fight live – we know both Klitschko brothers better than they know themselves."

Johnson took one step forward on the first bell and then spent the next 36 minutes on the ropes, calling in Klitschko, smiling, smirking and talking as the methodical veteran banged away with his customary arm punches. Johnson arrived in the ring after a week of boasts but flicked out his punches like an old man pushing away a nasty smell, and with just nine quick wins in 23 fights there was no chance that he would hurt Klitschko. It has to be said that Klitschko looks bad whenever opponents remain upright, and Johnson became only the second man in 39 victories to hear the final bell. Johnson finished without a mark on his face and with plenty in the tank, and at the fight's conclusion he even had the cheek to push Klitschko and his handlers away in a pathetic display of bad sportsmanship.

"Johnson was tough and took a lot of good punches," said Klitschko, which is nearly true. "Now, I have to look at Haye and his people – we will find out if he wants to have a real fight; we will find out if there is more than just words."

However, before Haye, who holds the World Boxing Association version, can share a ring with either of the Klitschko brothers there are some very real obstacles in the shape of Eddie Chambers – perhaps the last and only American heavyweight worthy of his inheritance – Russian Alexander Povetkin and Cuban Odlandier Solis. Wladimir defends his three titles against Chambers in March and then has to fight Povetkin, and Vitali could be forced into fighting Solis, who beat Haye in the final of the world amateur championships in 2001.

"David has the [John] Ruiz fight to look forward to in the first half of 2010," continued Booth. "We are both looking at openings for future fights. There is more to the heavyweight division than the Klitschko brothers and we are not going to be held to ransom by their excessive demands."

It is unlikely that Johnson will be the last American challenger to cry his way through the national anthem and then fight like a pacifist in a world heavyweight title fight. His timid display only reinforces the belief by many in the boxing business that Haye has the opportunity to restore both respect and excitement to a division that has become a one-trick two-punch pony off the back of too many champions from eastern Europe.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Manager – Heat Pumps

£40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...

Test Job

TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis