Wladimir Klitschko has said that he wants to teach David Haye a lesson in the ring after accusing the Briton of being "aggressive" and "offensive".
Klitschko said yesterday, ahead of his heavyweight bout against Tony Thompson in Hamburg tomorrow, that he was entering the prime of his career. As the reigning World Boxing Organisation, International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organisation champion, he will lay his titles on the line against the mandatory challenger from the United States five months on from taking the WBO crown from Sultan Ibragimov in New York.
The 6ft 6in Klitschko (50 wins, including 44 knockouts, and three losses) is the favourite against 36-year-old Thompson, who last year claimed the scalp of Timor Ibragimov. And a match with 27-year-old Haye could follow. Haye will be an interested observer in Hamburg, and has been scathing in his criticism of the heavyweight division in recent weeks, branding it a "total joke" and calling on Klitschko to join him in helping to restore its reputation.
His views have not gone down well with Klitschko, who insists he will fight Haye only when the fighter, who has won multiple belts at cruiserweight level, establishes himself in the heavyweight division.
"When I met [Haye] in London, he was overloaded with his energy and he was very aggressive – he was very offensive also," Klitschko said. "I didn't even know about David Haye a couple of months ago, but now everybody talks about him. I think we will have to teach him how to behave himself in the ring. I want to give him a lesson in the ring.
"I've been chased by different fighters. It's a compliment to me because it means that in the division fighters recognise who is the lead guy, and there is a line of people who want to fight me."
Klitschko has been inundated with offers from the likes of Alexander Povetkin and Juan Carlos Gomez, but his main focus is on this weekend. The American Thompson stands only an inch shorter than the champion, meaning Klitschko is unlikely to benefit from his long reach. Thompson also has a southpaw stance, which could cause his opponent problems.
Klitschko insists, however, that he is in perfect shape for the bout. "I'm in my prime time in the sport," the Ukrainian said. "I've been 12 years in professional boxing and over 50 fights. What I feel right now, and I've heard about it, is the beginning of the thirties, mid-thirties, is the best time for the heavyweights. I'd heard that and now I know it."Reuse content