By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID HAYE’S heavyweight showdown with Wladimir Klitschko has sparked a £50m bidding war.
Seven countries are fighting it out to host the world title unification clash between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko, which now seems likely to take place on July 2.
Three football grounds in Germany – Gelsenkirchen, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt – are under consideration along with venues in Moscow, United Arab Emirates, Monte Carlo, Switzerland, South Africa and the US.
WBA champion Haye’s manager- trainer Adam Booth was in Cologne to see Wladimir’s older brother Vitali farcically defend his WBC version of the world title on Saturday night.
Booth and the Klitschkos’ manager Bernd Boente will this week fly to New York for talks with US broadcasters Showtime and HBO, with a final announcement on a date and venue expected next month.
Booth said: “It’s taking a while to do because there are so many offers and venues to consider.
“Ideally the venue will be in Europe and indoors because we don’t want to have to worry about it raining.
“It’s a bigger fight now than it was two years ago when David pulled out. Wladimir or Vitali have not had a fight as big as this before.
“When Vitali fought Lennox Lewis, he was a late substitute remember and it wasn’t a massive fight. There is no other fight that is as big as fighting David.”
Haye’s eagerly anticipated bout against Wladimir is badly needed to boost the credibility of the heavy-weight division after Vitali’s first- round win over Cuban Odlanier Solis.
2004 Olympic gold medallist Solis, 30, lost his unbeaten record when a glancing blow caused him to lose balance, injuring knee ligaments in the process and ending the fight.
Vitali shouted abuse at Solis for not continuing and said: “I was disappointed and surprised that he couldn’t stand up.
“I thought it was a simulation and that’s why I was a bit aggressive and I didn’t know about his knee injury.”