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Friday, June 22, 2012
Last piece of puzzle: Haye licensed

By Dan Rafael

The outlaw fight that the British Boxing Board of Control -- which oversees the sport in the United Kingdom -- didn't want to happen is now out of its hands.

The last piece of the puzzle for the Dereck Chisora-David Haye heavyweight fight fell into place Wednesday when Haye was issued a professional boxing license by Luxembourg Boxing Federation general secretary Tony Tiberi.

The fight will take place at London's Upton Park soccer stadium on July 14 (Epix and EpixHD.com in the United States), with the Luxembourg Boxing Federation sanctioning the fight, which is allowable under European free trade rules -- even though British authorities are unhappy about it.

The British board revoked Chisora's license in the aftermath of his disgraceful brawl with Haye at the press conference following Chisora's decision loss to champion Vitali Klitschko on Feb. 14 in Germany. The British board wouldn't license Haye, either. His previous license had expired during his retirement following a virtual shutout decision loss to champion Wladimir Klitschko in their unification bout last summer.

The British board made its feelings known about the fight, saying in a recent statement that it "condemns the actions" of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation and that it "strongly disapproves of the contest, which the Board considers will bring the sport of professional boxing into disrepute."

Tiberi paid no heed to the British authorities.

"We are proud to grant a great fighter like David Haye a boxing license, and he showed his appreciation by coming out here [Wednesday] to talk to the media and rub shoulders with his fans, who requested many autographs," Tiberi said. "David was charming, and [the LBF] has no doubt that his fight with Dereck Chisora will be a credit to boxing."

Chisora was licensed by the LBF weeks ago.

The officials for the bout were also announced on Thursday. England's Mickey Vann will be the referee, and the judges assigned are John Coyle and Paul Thomas, both from the United Kingdom, and Luc Muller of Luxembourg.

Also on the card, heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin will make his third defense, against faded former champion and (somehow) mandatory challenger Hasim Rahman.