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Haye ready to fight Klitschko in 'his backyard'

ESPN staff
March 3, 2011 « Dokic stuns Safarova in thrilling Malaysian Open final | ESPN FA Cup Promo »

David Haye has confirmed he is prepared to fight IBF and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko anywhere - even "in his backyard" - as an eagerly-anticipated heavyweight unification fight increasingly looms into view.

After months of jibe and counter jibe, in recent weeks it seems the two fighters' camps have reopened positive discussions about arranging a fight for a oft-mentioned July 2 date. And WBA champion Haye has now underlined his readiness to face the Ukrainian wherever he wants - likely to be in Germany, where the Klitschko brothers enjoy huge popularity and have lucrative contracts with TV stations - something that had previously been considered a major sticking point.

"It does not bother me, Munich, Gelsenkirchen, Berlin, in his backyard. It's all the same to me," Haye, who won his title from Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg in 2009, told The Sun. "I'm prepared to go into his territory to get what he has been hanging on to for too long.

"It doesn't faze me - I've done it before."

Haye's trainer, Adam Booth, confirmed on Wednesday that the two camps are currently "swimming through the quagmire of boxing negotiations", and Haye suggested he will be willing to concede ground on many sticking points.

"They can have their name first on the billing, they can enter the ring before me, they can do anything they want," Haye said. "I don't care as long as we have a referee that can count to ten. All I want to do is fight Wladimir and, if possible, Vitali before I retire."

With both Ukrainians scheduled to contest fights of their own in the coming weeks, a July 2 date has regularly been mentioned for the proposed unification fight. And, with Haye's mandatory defence against Ruslan Chagaev increasingly unlikely to go ahead due to the Uzbeki's health issues, the Bermondsey fighter is adamant that will be the month of his next fight - whoever the opponent is.

"One way or another my next fight is going to be in July. I am hoping it is going to be against Wladimir Klitschko," he added to the BBC. "I believe we are pretty close to agreeing. That's what I believe. Whether we are or not is a whole different matter.

"It seems at this stage that we are ready to do it, so hopefully they are. We should know something more in the next few days."

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