David Haye will have to wait until next year at the earliest to fight Vladimir Klitschko after the Ukrainian announced yesterday that he will defend his IBF world heavyweight title against Russian challenger Alexander Povetkin in September.
Klitschko holds the IBF, WBO and IBO belts and had previously claimed he was keen to take on Haye, the WBA champion, in a highly-anticipated title unification bout. "I am very happy that we have won the bid and will promote the fight," said the Ukrainian.
Povetkin, 30, is the undefeated IBF No 1 challenge. Since turning professional after winning Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, his win-loss record stands at 19-0 with 14 knockouts, while Klitschko has 54 wins and three defeats with 28 knockouts. Klitschko's team outbid Povetkin's promoters for the right to host the fight, with the winning bid worth over £5m.
The venue and the date will be announced by the Klitschko Management Group in the next three weeks, he added. The 55,000-seat Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt is being considered to stage the fight.
The deal means Haye may have to look to Klitschko's brother and WBC champion Vitali for a unification fight this year, although there have been reports that there is an agreement for Haye to fight fellow Briton and current European champion Audley Harrison before the end of the year.