ABU DHABI // Vitali Klitschko last night accused Nicolay Valuev, the giant former WBA heavyweight champion, of being too scared to get in a ring with him, describing him as "chicken". Klitschko's promoters had offered Valuev US$2.5million (Dh9.1m) to fight, but could not agree on how to split the purse. He will instead defend his WBC heavyweight championship against Albert Sosnowski on May 29 in Germany.
In revealing the seven-foot two-inch Russian's demands had wrecked any hope of an agreement, Klitschko claimed "The Beast", who lost his WBA belt in a points defeat to Britain's David Haye last November, had been more worried about subsidising a "career-ending" second consecutive defeat. "I don't want to speak bad about him, but I gave Valuev the biggest financial proposal of his career," said Klitschko at the Emirates Palace hotel yesterday, where he was speaking ahead of tonight's Laureus Sports Awards.
"He told me 'No, four'. There's two reasons why he's done this. Firstly, he wanted to say no anyway. Four million is unrealistic for someone who has just lost their title. The second point is that he understands if he loses to me straight after losing his title, that's it for him. Valuev is a chicken." Instead of fighting Valuev, Klitschko will square-off against Sosnowski, the Polish underdog, before flipping a coin with his brother, Vladimir, who holds the IBF, IBO, and WBO belts for a chance to fight Haye, who faces a mandatory defence against the American John Ruiz on April 3.
"I told my brother, 'I want to fight Haye', but he said no, he wants to fight him," Klitschko added "For him it is personal, but for me I want the title. My brother already has three but I have to clear it with him. I hope he listens to his older brother." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org