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Haye throws verbal jabs ahead of Hamburg bout with Klitschko

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Haye throws verbal jabs ahead of Hamburg bout with Klitschko
Haye, foreground, and Klitschko face the press. Photo: DPA
10:52 CEST+02:00
Britain's world heavyweight champion David Haye has said he will only shake the hand of Wladimir Klitschko when he visits him in hospital after their eagerly awaited unification bout on Saturday.

Klitschko, the IBF and WBO title holder, takes on Britain's Haye, the WBA champion, at Hamburg's Imtech Arena this weekend.

There is no love lost between the pair. Haye, 30, has not wasted any opportunities to antagonise Ukrainian giant Klitschko and refused to shake hands with the fellow champion at Monday's pre-fight press conference.

"I will shake hands with you when I visit you in hospital on Sunday," said Haye, who has dubbed Klitschko 'Bitchko' and 'a fraud' in the past. "It will be an execution like there has never been seen in boxing before."

This is the first heavyweight unification bout since Klitschko took the WBO title from Russia's Sultan Ibragimov in Madison Square Garden in February 2008.

This will be only Haye's fifth heavyweight fight since stepping up from cruiserweight in 2008 and although he has a record of 25 wins with 23 knock-outs from 26 fights, most of which came at the lighter weight.

In comparison Klitschko, 35, has 49 knock-outs from 55 fights with just three defeats from 58 bouts and he insists Haye will be his 50th KO come Saturday night and will treat the brash Brit to some 'reality rehab'.

"There has been a lot of hot air about this fight, I am really excited about it," said Klitschko. "I had my first professional fight in Hamburg back in 1996 and I am looking forward to my 50th knock-out on Saturday night."

Haye's crudest provocation was to appear at a press conference in 2009 wearing a t-shirt with an image of him in a boxing ring brandishing the severed heads of both Klitschko and his older brother Vitali, the WBC champion.

Haye had been scheduled to meet Klitschko two years ago in Gelsenkirchen but withdrew from the fight with a back injury.

AFP/djw

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