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August 12, 2009

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Klitschko sets up Arreola bout

VITALI Klitschko of the Ukraine will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Mexican-American Chris Arreola on September 26 in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Klitschko's management said yesterday.

Arreola's promoter Dan Goossen had confirmed the fight last week.

"I am very pleased that the negotiations have been successfully concluded and that we can offer fans worldwide the fight that everyone wants to see," said Bernd Boente, head of Klitschko's management group. "Vitali and Chris Arreola are both known as hard punchers and few experts believe this fight will go the distance," he said.

Klitschko said he was looking forward to fighting again in Los Angeles, where he had already fought against Lennox Lewis and Corrie Sanders. "Chris Arreola is one of the strongest possible rivals. He is young, undefeated, has a hard punch and is very confident. I will definitely not underestimate him, but at the same time I have no doubt that I will leave California as the champion still," Klitschko said.

The bout will be the 38-year-old Klitschko's third fight since returning from a layoff of nearly four years to beat Samuel Peter late last year. Klitschko (37-2, 36 KOs) hoped to fight England's David Haye in Germany on September 12, but Haye backed out last month, choosing to fight Nikolai Valuev instead.

Arreola is hoping to become the first Mexican-American to win a major heavyweight title, and Goossen expects a large Southern California crowd supporting both boxers. Klitschko has lived in Los Angeles at times for the past several years.

Klitschko, whose brother Wladimir holds the IBF and WBO heavyweight titles, fought Lewis at Staples Center in June 2003, losing on cuts in the sixth round despite leading the fight on the judges' scorecards. Klitschko then won the WBC title in Los Angeles in 2004, stopping Sanders.

After one more defense, Klitschko retired and repeatedly postponed comeback attempts because of injuries and two failed campaigns to become the mayor of Kiev, Ukraine. When he finally returned against Peter, Klitschko had little trouble stopping the champion, who quit on his stool after the eighth round in Germany.

The fight with Arreola came together quickly after Haye dropped out. Arreola had been anticipating a fight against Oleg Maskaev next month, but eagerly seized the chance to take on Klitschko instead.


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