Ukrainian brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, who hold four out of five world heavyweight title crowns, have promised a much-anticipated fight with the WBA champion David Haye will take place next year.
"We promise that a fight with David will take place in 2011," the brothers said. "We want this fight at all costs.
"He can choose who of the two of us he will fight and will lose his world title to," they added.
Wladimir, who holds the WBO, IBF and IBO belts, pulled out of his bout against the Briton Dereck Chisora on 11 December with a stomach muscle injury. Vitali retained his WBC world heavyweight title by beating the American Shannon Briggs on points in October.
Haye easily defended his WBA title against fellow Briton Audley Harrison in Manchester on 13 November. He had been due to fight Wladimir, the younger of the brothers, in June last year but withdrew citing an injury.
A Haye-Klitschko fight would certainly generate major media attention, especially now that many of the Klitschko world title defences get no or hardly any live coverage in North America. It is also the only fight that would give the Klitschkos the title of undisputed heavyweight champions of the world, given that they will not fight each other.
Vitali had said on Tuesday that his brother was ready to take on the Londoner, prompting Haye's manager Adam Booth to respond: "We are now perfectly positioned to get together and make this fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Despite the fact we know we bring more UK television money to the table, David and I are happy to split the entire pot 50-50 and grant Wladimir the deal he has wanted since day one.
"We have offered them 50-50 on everything – just as they requested – and now see no reason why this tremendous fight can't happen. The path is clear."
"I'm going to close my eyes and my Christmas wish is for Wladimir to sign on the dotted line," Haye said. "Potentially we could have three unified champions in Britain [Haye, WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch and WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan] in 2011. If that could happen it could be one of the best eras ever [in British boxing], I don't think that has ever happened before."Reuse content