ADDIS ABABA — Former heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield’s charity bout in Ethiopia has been postponed to allow time for a bigger event to be prepared, officials told AFP on Tuesday.
The match, to raise funds for AIDS charities, was initially set to take place in Addis Ababa on July 26, before being rescheduled for September 11 — the Ethiopian New Year — after a request from the government.
“The promoters are working hard to make a real and spectacular event,” Motuma Temesgen, an official from Ethiopia’s government communication affairs office, told AFP.
“Holyfield and Sammy Retta will fight in Addis Ababa on October 30 while five other fights will also take place on the same day,” he said.
Among the other boxers appearing will be former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer, as well as fighters from China, Kenya and Kosovo, Motuma added.
Holyfield’s opponent Retta, an Ethiopian-born American, is a 35-year-old with a record of 18 wins and three losses in super-middleweight bouts.
At 230 pounds, he now outweighs his more illustrious rival.
Holyfield failed to clinch a fifth world title during his last attempt late last year when he lost to Russian Nikolai Valuev.
Organisers are hoping to create a remake here of the ‘Zaire 74’ festival which brought renowned musicians James Brown and B.B. King to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) ahead of the legendary ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ bout that pitted Muhammed Ali against George Foreman 35 years ago.
A number of musicians, including Stevie Wonder, have been invited to participate in a music concert to be held in the Ethiopian capital a day before the fight.