Big-time boxing back at the Boleyn

Big-time boxing will return to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday 14 July, when heavyweights Dereck Chisora and David Haye will lock horns on what promises to be the fight of the year.

Zimbabwean-born Chisora and former WBA heavyweight champion Haye will top the bill at 'Licensed to Thrill' as they settle their differences in the ring. The eagerly-anticipated showdown between the two London-based fighters is expected to be the climax of a spectacular night of boxing in the East End.

The undercard will feature the WBA heavyweight championship showdown between unbeaten Russian champion Alexander Povetkin and Hasim Rahman - the American who sensationally knocked out Lennox Lewis to become a world champion in 2001. Licensed to Thrill is licensed by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation.

The Boleyn Ground previously hosted big-time boxing in May 2010, when local hero Kevin Mitchell was beaten by Michael Katsidis for the interim WBO lightweight title. Chisora was also on the bill that night, knocking out Danny Williams to win the British heavyweight title.

Promoter Frank Warren, who manages Chisora, said he expects the 14 July meeting between his man and Haye to be the fight of the year. Warren also played down controversy surrounding the bout following a brawl between the two boxers in Germany following Chisora's defeat by Vitali Klitschko in February.


"The fact of the matter is that this fight is on and it will be the biggest fight involving two British boxers this century," confirmed Warren. "Even if the unsavoury and terrible scenes had not taken place, I would love to have promoted this fight. If Dereck wins this fight, I would like him to fight the winner of the Povetkin/Rahman fight for the world title.

"It is not the end of British boxing. I believe this will be a huge evening and a sell-out. There are far, far worse things happening in sport and in boxing than what is happening here.

"On 14 July this place is going to be absolutely jumping and it's going to be a great fight. It is about more than money. It is about the fight happening under the controlled regulations of boxing and the best man winning on the night in the ring.

"We will find out who is the best heavyweight in Britain. It is certainly not theatre, it is boxing."

Haye and Chisora, who attended a press conference on the edge of the Boleyn Ground pitch separated by a steel barrier, are both looking forward to being reaquainted in the ring.

"I am sure it is on everyone's mind why I have taken this fight," said Haye, who will come out of retirement for this bout. "I said I would only come out of retirement to fight Vitali Klitschko and until recently the idea of fighting Dereck Chisora had not come into my mind.

"We settled our differences in Germany. As far as I was concerned that was sorted out, but people kept coming up to me in the street to ask when I was going to fight Dereck.

"Frank Warren said to me we could have a big show down in London at a football stadium. I was gearing up to fight Vitali in the summer, but that didn't look like happening, so to take this fight was a no-brainer.

"I don't think too many people in my position would not go through with this fight and I am looking forward to it. He didn't learn his lesson in Germany so I have to do it in the official, old-fashioned way and it can be on my boxing record for doing so."


Chisora was equally bullish about his chances of defeating Haye.

"I don't like him," he said. "Talk is cheap. That was a lucky shot [when he punched me in Germany] so now you are winning 1-0 but in a couple of months' time I am going to beat you.

"I know how to fight. I am happy you signed the contract so now we just have to fight each other. It's all good talking like you do, David, but then you get in the ring and nothing happens."

Licensed to Thrill is presented by BoxNation in association with Team Sauerland and Hayemaker Boxing Ltd.

For tickets, priced from £50-£1,000, call 0844 249 1000 (extra charges may apply) or click here.