New York: Lennox Lewis was the main topic here when it was announced that Vitali Klitschko, the world boxing council No. 1 heavyweight contender, will fight Kirk Johnson over 12 rounds at Madison Square Garden on December 6.
The winner will meet Lewis for the heavyweight title, but according to Klitschko, it is not certain whether Lewis will fight again.
At Tuesday’s press conference at Madison Square Garden, Klitschko said that he spoke to Lewis after their June bout and asked for a rematch. Lewis, said Klitschko, told him he wasn’t sure whether he would fight again.
Lewis must fight the winner of Klitschko-Johnson or lose his WBC championship, his only remaining belt.
“I’m ready to fight,” said Klitschko who lost to Lewis in a sixth round technical knockout on June 21. The bout was stopped after the Ukranian had suffered several facial cuts.
Klitschko added: “The situation in boxing is changing every week, every month. Maybe next year, I hope, I will fight for the (world) title against Lewis or somebody.”
Klitschko, 32, said he decided to fight the 31-year-old Canadian because “it was important for me to be accepted (as a fighter) in America. To be the best you have to fight the best and beat everybody.”
He added: “It has been a long-time dream to fight at Madison Square Garden because of its history in boxing. Johnson is a very good and fast fighter with a great record. It is important to keep dreams alive to be the world champion.
“I don’t want to underestimate Johnson. I want to give my best to win and a win is important for my family.”
He said he and his brother, Vladimir, both want to be world champions.
Johnson is coming off a fourth-round knockout win against Lou Savarese and has his eyes set on meeting Lewis sometime next year.
Johnson was scheduled to fight Lewis for the championship when he was forced to withdraw because of a torn pectoral muscle. He claimed that Lewis was relieved the bout did not go ahead.
“He then trash talked me, not before the fight, but after and this surprised me,” said Johnson. “Lewis is the champion of the world. He’s at the highest level. After this fight we can talk about him (Lewis).”
Johnson describes himself as the best heavyweight “on the planet with the best hands”.
Promoter Dino Duva said the WBC was considering sanctioning the Klitschko-Johnson bout and would make a decision later this week.