Michael Rosenthal

Klitschko sparring partner: Haye must get champion early

David Haye can dump Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg — but only if he lets rip from the first bell.

That's the message from British heavyweight Michael Sprott, who, despite being a relative journeyman, is definitely someone worth listening to when it comes to the Haye-Klitschko world title showdown on July 2 in Germany.

After all, Sprott, not for the first time, has just spent the last few weeks training with the Ukrainian champion — and his brother, Vitali — while preparing for this Saturday’s Prizefighter International Heavyweights event in London.

“The sparring is hard,” said the 36-year-old from Reading, Berkshire. “Both those brothers are supreme athletes. But I have learnt so much in their company, watching them train. It means a lot that they keep asking me back. Wladimir is so tough and will definitely be the toughest opponent David Haye has faced. As a heavyweight, this is David's biggest challenge without a doubt, because he’s fighting the best in the world.

“For Haye to stand a chance, I believe it will have to be early. The longer the fight goes on, the more you have to lean towards Wladimir. Haye's an explosive fighter, who is always very, very dangerous early on. That's why, if he is going to beat Wladimir, he must get it done in those first few rounds."

Meanwhile, Sprott, who won UK Prizefighter last October, believes a repeat triumph this weekend at the iconic Alexandra Palace, where a £32,000 winner-takes-all jackpot is on offer, will lead to a world championship shot.

“This is a big step up from the previous tournament. They’re saying the winner will go on to fight for the world title at the end of the year. That’s how big it is,” added Sprott, who meets 6-foot-8 American Tye Fields over three rounds in the third quarter-final of the eight-man competition.

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