LONDON (Reuters) - World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitchsko says he is preparing for next month’s title bout with Britain’s Dereck Chisora as if it were his last.
Not that the 40-year-old Ukrainian expects it to be anything of the sort.
Chisora, whose promoter Frank Warren could be accused of considerable understatement in describing the confident 28-year-old as a “huge underdog,” takes on the WBC champion in Munich on February 18.
The Briton, who has no titles to his name, produced plenty of fighting talk at a news conference in a London hotel ballroom Monday when he predicted he would fell Klitschko in the eighth round and revive interest in a division dominated by the ‘boring’ brothers.
Chisora warned Klitschko not to ‘chicken out’ like younger brother Vladimir, the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion who has twice pulled out of scheduled title bouts with him due to injury.
“He and his brother have killed the sport I love,” declared the Londoner, who described himself as a ‘Black Plague’ ready to destroy the man who boasts a Phd in sports science and the nickname ‘Dr Ironfist’.
“You know what, I am going to whip his ass,” grinned ‘Del Boy’, whose record is 17-2-0, from inside a hooded top.
Vitali, smartly turned out and carrying himself like the politician he also is, studiously brushed off the trash talk with the weary look of a man who has seen and heard it all before and has tired of play-acting for the cameras.
“You are landing on the floor in round number six,” he informed Chisora.
“I know it will be a big fight. I know he will be hungry and motivated,” added the Ukrainian, who has a 43-2-0 career record with 40 knockouts. “That’s why I chose you.”
Klitschko, who said he felt like a youngster of 25 and spars with much younger opponents, indicated retirement was still some way off even if he had no intention of beating George Foreman’s record of being a champion at 45.
“Every fight can be the last fight and I prepare for every fight as if it’s the last of my career,” he said. “We decide step by step.”
Speaking to Reuters Television afterwards, however, he acknowledged that he still had unfulfilled dreams to achieve in the ring.
“I have a dream to fight (Britain’s former WBA world champion) David Haye, but we are miles away from making the contract because it is so difficult to talk to David Haye and his lawyers,” he said. “He thinks he is world champion.
“I hope it is a fight coming true.”
Asked whether he would go on after 2012, the year his country co-host the European soccer championship with Poland, Klitschko smiled while also weaving around a direct response.
“I had a dream that we would build for Euro 2012 a big stadium in Ukraine...in Germany 60,000 people are coming to the stadium. I am more than sure that if the fight was in Ukraine the stadium will be full,” he said.
“It’s one of my dreams to fight in my home country, in Kiev, to make a great match. Let’s see. One day the dream comes true.”
Editing by John Mehaffey