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Lewis pushing for Klitschko rematch
( 2003-07-03 09:18) (Reuters)

World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis said on Wednesday he preferred a rematch with Vitali Klitschko to a big money bout with Roy Jones Jr.

Following a bloody sixth-round technical knockout of Klitschko two weeks ago in Los Angeles, Lewis was expected to turn his attention towards a much hyped fight with Jones.

One-time middleweight Jones captured the imagination of the boxing public last March when he defeated John Ruiz to claim the WBA heavyweight title.

But in a surprise move Lewis said negotiations for a rematch with Klitschko, a German-based Ukrainian, were already underway with December 6 the most likely date for the bout.

"I'm opting more for the rematch," said Lewis. "I enjoyed that fight.

"It was just a fight, we just went at it. I felt I was in good shape.

"You have to realise a year's layoff to be able to comeback and take a fight in basically 10 days notice and do that to his eye...it may look like I was tired but he was just as tired."

One possible roadblock for a rematch is the condition of Klitschko's left eye.


The Ukrainian required over 50 stitches to close gashes above and below the battered eye that ultimately resulted in the fight being stopped.

"We want our own independent doctor to go there and check the eye and if he will be available," said Lewis, adding that those discussions were also going ahead on Wednesday. "We want to go in there, check it out and then we can go from there.

"They should agree to it.

"If not, then we will have to look at other options...Roy Jones, or call it a day or see what else is out there which isn't much."

Stepping into the ring for the first time since a punishing eighth-round knockout of former champion Mike Tyson on June 8, 2002, Lewis failed to impress weighing in at a bulky 256 1/2 pounds and displaying plenty of ring rust.

Lewis's preparations were also less than ideal, accepting to fight Klitschko on 10 days' notice after his original opponent for the June 21 bout Kirk Johnson was forced out with an injury.

"I will have a lot more sparring realising that's who I'm fighting," said Lewis, adding he would knock out Klitschko in the fifth round of a rematch. "I'm just going to give it to him from round one.

"My jab is my big weapon and I'm going to open up the other side of his face.

"He's lucky, he would have been knocked out. I don't mind the rematch at all because I realise I have more heart than him, I'm tougher than him and this time I'll be more prepared for him.

"He was gone, he was holding on for dear life. I was dragging him around the ring. He was lucky they stopped it." 

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