By Rick Reeno
A few hours before the official press conference, promoter Frank Warren sat down with BoxingScene.com to discuss what many are calling the "biggest domestic event in BoxNation history."
In the main event, a heavyweight grudge match between David Haye (25-2, 23KOs) and Dereck Chisora (15-3, 9KOs). In the co-feature, Alexander Povetkin (24-0, 16KOs) will defend his WBA "regular" heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Hasim Rahman (50-7-2, 41KOs).
Contrary to numerous reports, a lightweight bout between Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell will not be announced during the presser.
The doubleheader is taking place at Upton Park in West Ham, London. The stadium holds over 35,000 fans and Warren expects a sold-out venue.
"BoxNation, which is the TV company, in association with Sauerland Promotions, are promoting event. The main event will be Haye v. Chisora or Chisora v. Haye. There are two fights. We are only announcing two fights today, and the other is Povetkin vs. Rahman," Warren told BoxingScene.com.
Making the main event was tricky, Warren admits - because neither of the main event fighters are licensed under the British Boxing Board of Control.
Haye returned his license when he announced his retirement in October 2011. And Chisora lost his license after being involved in a violent brawl with Haye in February. The two British boxers traded punches at the post-fight press conference to Chisora's title fight with Vitali Klitschko, which took place in Munich, Germany.
Their press conference brawl made headlines all over the world - and thousands of fans were demanding a fight. Warren aims to satisfy their hunger.
Because of the existing issues with the British Board of Control, the boxers will be licensed under the Luxembourg boxing commission, who plan to oversee the entire event.
"The show will be licensed by the Luxembourg boxing commission, which was formed in 1922. Luxembourg is affiliated with the EBU, the European Boxing Union, and the four alphabet bodies," Warren explained to BoxingScene.
"Everything is ready to go. They guys wanted to fight. In normal circumstances you could have made the fight quite easy if they were licensed by the British commission, the British Boxing Board of Control. First of all, David Haye is unlicensed. He gave his license back. And with Dereck Chisora, they withdrew his license. Chisora is not banned from boxing. His license was withdrawn and he could reapply for a license at any time [in any country]."
"In the mean time, after the hearing [where Chisora lost his license] an appeal was launched and the appeal was due to be heard on May 14th - and we found out about a week or so ago that the appeal would not be heard until July - which meant effectively Chisora would have been out of action for six months."
Not everyone is pleased with the finalization of Haye-Chisora. Rival British promoters like Barry Hearn are demanding a blockade.
"Barry Hearn has come out and said that it's disgusting what's going on here and said that we're undermining the British Board of control and all this bullsh*t," Warren said.
"This is the same guy, I remember years ago him winning a purse bid between Julius Jackson and Herol Graham. And the board wouldn't allow Jackson to box in this country because Jackson was blind in one eye and he took it to Spain. The main thing here, is this is a fight that the fans want to see."
Warren doesn't deny the possibility of the Haye-Chisora and Povetkin-Rahman winners facing off at the end of the year.
"I don't know where Haye is on this, because that is his decision. But if Dereck were to win, that would be a fight that we would obviously like to make," Warren said.