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Holyfield talks tough
Evander Holyfield claims he is fitter than ever.
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2007 11:39 GMT

Evander Holyfield battles with Jeremy Bates [GALLO/GETTY]

Evander Holyfield, who turns 44 next month, vows to claim the heavyweight boxing throne for a fifth time, saying he is a better fighter now than in his prime.

Holyfield, who in his hey day defeated fighters such as Mike Tyson and George Foreman, will fight his third bout in seven months on March 17 against fellow American Vinny Maddalone.
Idled for nearly two years after New York officials questioned his health following a 12-round decision loss to Larry Donald, Holyfield said his title quest was not simply a fighter staying too long and not knowing when to quit.

"I'm better now than when I was 30. I'm a lot smarter. I'm better and a much improved person," Holyfield said.
  
"I'm OK. I'm fit. My health is good. I will do whatever it takes to win the title back.
  
"I know when to finish and I have what is necessary to endure the race."
  
Holyfield, 40-8 with two drawn and 26 knockouts, beat Jeremy Bates last August and Fres Oquendo last November.
  
The New York State Athletic Commission placed Holyfield on suspension for diminished skills and poor performance but lifted a medical ban in 2005 so he could fight in other states.

His three return bouts have all been in Texas.
  
Holyfield lost three fights in a row ending with the 2004 Donald defeat, the end of a longer run where he went 2-5 with two drawn starting with a controversial draw with Britain's Lennox Lewis in 1999.
  
Lewis said last weekend he has no plans to come out of retirement, ending any chance for Holyfield to avenge a 1999 rematch loss that cost him an undisputed crown.
  
Holyfield's targets are the three world heavyweight champions - unbeaten Russian giant Nikolay Valuev (46-0 with 34 knockouts), Kazak-born Oleg Maskaev (34-5 with 26 knockouts) and Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko (47-3 with 42 knockouts).
  
"My destiny is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," Holyfield said. "The most important thing we have in life is that we have a choice and I like to live my life to the fullest.
  
"I love boxing and I want to be the heavyweight champion one more time. I'm a lot more mature now than when I was 43 and I want to be the very best I can and give it my all."
  
Holyfield will turn 45 in October, the same age as Foreman was when he stopped Michael Moorer to regain the heavyweight title.

Source:
Agencies
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