Boxing: David Haye fight with Derek Chisora has already sold over 20,000 tickets, reveals Frank Warren
BOXING promoter Frank Warren has revealed over 20,000 tickets have already been sold for the grudge match between David Haye and Dereck Chisora at Upton Park on July 14.
Neither boxer holds a British licence and Chisora was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control in March after an ugly press conference brawl with Haye in Munich.
Haye does not hold a valid licence to box in Britain after announcing his retirement last year, following his defeat by Wladimir Klitschko.
And so, although the clash between the British boxers is scheduled to take place at West Ham's stadium in east London, it is doing so under the auspices of the little-known Luxembourg Boxing Federation, rather than the BBBoC.
Warren, Chisora's promoter, insists he is not trying to undermine the BBBoC and has defended his role in organising the bout.
"We've sold more than 20,000 since they went on sale on Wednesday morning. The capacity is 40,000," he told BBC Sport.
"I'm sure there's more interest than there would have been if there hadn't been a fracas.
"I always felt it was a fight the fans would want to watch.
"The [British Boxing] board's blessing is not required. Chisora was not banned from boxing, and everyone is missing that point.
"They [BBBofC] made it clear when they withdrew Chisora's licence he was free to go to any other federation. The door was left open for him to re-apply for a licence. His appeal, for some reason, got delayed until July.
"He did what was suggested by them. Not just him, but also David Haye."
He added: "This is not the end of British boxing. I believe it will be a sell out, a huge event. There are far far worse things happening in sport than what's happening here.
"The fight has been licenced by the governing body in Luxembourg, which has the same standards as the British Boxing Board of Control.
"It is the biggest fight of the year and the fact of the matter is that the fight is legal, lawful and will go ahead."
In response, the BBBoC warned that anyone involved in the fight would be stripped of their licenses.
"Those behind this proposal are not concerned with the interests of the sport of professional boxing.
"Any member who participates in such a promotion would bring the sport of boxing into disrepute and would wholly undermine the authority of the British Boxing Board of Control, of which he/she is a member, as the regulatory body for professional boxing in the United Kingdom."
Warren, though, who holds a licence as a promoter, does not believe his is at risk from the threat.
"If they think I'm going to just roll over and let that happen then they're sorely mistaken," he said.
"I'm disappointed. I don't understand why they're taking this stance.
"The problem is with the board, not with Dereck Chisora. It's just that the fight is happening in the UK. The BBBofC have been involved and licensed fights in Dubai, Egypt and Portugal in the past."