Britain's boxing authorities last night admitted they were powerless to stop the heavyweights Dereck Chisora and David Haye fighting in the summer, in defiance of a ban.
The promoter Frank Warren will announce the fight on Tuesday, even though neither boxer is licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control following their brawl in Munich, after Chisora's world title bout with Vitali Klitschko in February.
Chisora had his licence withdrawn indefinitely. Haye relinquished his after retiring in October. It is unlikelyto be renewed because of his part in an affray that is being investigated by German police. But this will not prevent Warren staging the fight at Upton Park. He will not say how he will get round the ban but I understand it will be on 1 or 14 July, even without the Board's approval.
It is possible that under EU regulations, the fight could be licensed by another European boxing body, the most likely being the newly formed Luxembourg Boxing Commission.
After the Board postponed Chisora's appeal against a ban also imposed for slapping Vitali and spitting at his brother, Wladimir, Warren said: "I am very angry. By the time the appealis heard Dereck could have been out for six months. It is the equivalent of a footballer missing 20 games. Is that fair? He has to earn a living. Whateveranyone says, this is a natural fight, the biggest out there. This is the best way for them to settle their differences. It will definitely happen."
Haye, 31, a former WBA champion, is believed to have agreed to fight the 28-year-old ex-British champion, who is managed by Warren. The bout would attract a 35,000 sell-out crowd and boost Warren's BoxNation TV subscription channel. However, the Board would lose a hefty sanction fee and Warren would risk having his promotional licence suspended.
The Board secretary, Robert Smith, said: "We will be discussing this at our meeting on Wednesday. The fact is neither Dereck Chisora or David Haye are currently licensed.
"There are precedents in Europe where shows have been run in one country under the jurisdiction of another, which is a shame. If this is what Mr Warren he is planning it is a huge disappointment. This is definitely not good for boxing,"
Chisora's appeal is due to be heard at the end of June or in early July. Smith said: "The only reason for the adjournment is that one of the stewards of appeal, a QC, is engaged in an important murder trial."