Vitali Klitschko announced last night that he will fight David Haye for the WBC world heavyweight title. “I can announce that my next fight will be with David Haye,” he said in Düsseldorf after his younger brother Wladimir had knocked out Jean-Marc Mormeck to retain his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight crowns.
Haye had earlier revealed the news on Twitter: "Vitali has just finally agreed to fight me in a live RTL interview. He told me I will be his next fight. Let's Get Ready To Rumble." The Briton was beaten in a unanimous points decision by Wladimir in July last year, after which he claimed that a toe injury had hindered him.
Haye retired after the fight but his return was widely expected with the 31-year-old repeatedly stating his desire to fight the Ukrainian. He had confronted Vitali about a possible fight before last month's infamous press conference fracas with Dereck Chisora in Munich after the latter had been beaten by Vitali.
Haye escaped sanction for his role in the altercation because he does not have a licence with the British Boxing Board of Control. They said any application would "not be helped" by his actions.
If evidence was needed to dispel the notion that boxing breeds only brutish, bad-mouthing braggarts it comes in the form of a shy shopworker from Glasgow who says he gets embarrassed whenever he sees his name on a fight poster or reads about himself in the papers.
Ricky Burns is one of Britain's two remaining world champions and the 28-year-old Scot makes the first defence of his WBO lightweight title next Saturday against Paulus Moses of Namibia, who has 19 KOs in 29 bouts..
Burns has a huge fan base in Scotland, having become their first two-weight world champion in nearly 20 years when he beat Australian toughie Michael Katsidis in a landslide points victory in November.
Yet he still works at weekends in a sports goods shop, says he gets embarrassed signing autographs and wanted to tear down posters depicting him as a Caledonian Rocky. "Everyone who comes into the shop asks me what I am still doing there but it gives me something else to do apart from training," he says. " It breaks up my week, but the most important thing is that it keeps me grounded.
"I'm just an ordinary laddie. I hate fuss and feel myself cringing with all the publicity sometimes. I like to keep myself to myself and do my talking in the ring. Trash talk won't win anything."
That is unusual for a fighting man in times when mouthing off seems to be a requirement for selling yourself, as well as tickets. But Burns believes that while boxing's image is bruised, is it not irreparably damaged. "In my experience most boxers are gentlemen, nice guys. Those two [Chisora and Haye] made mistakes and I hope they'll learn from them. What they did was stupid but it doesn't make us all hooligans."
Burns v Moses is live on BoxNation (Sky channel 456/Virgin 546) on Saturday. Join at www.boxnation.tv