Stop running away and fight me, Klitschko tells Haye

BERLIN (Reuters) - Vladimir Klitschko issued a "fight me" ultimatum to heavyweight rival David Haye on Monday, saying the Briton, who has twice pulled out of bouts against the Ukrainian and his brother Vitali, should stop running from him.

"Don't be a coward. David, twice you canceled against the Klitschko brothers (last year). But now the time has come," the IBF, IBO and WBO champion, whose brother Vitali holds the WBC crown, said in a video message posted on his website (www.klitschko.de).

"In the name of all boxing fans I officially challenge you to fight me. You cannot keep running away from me. I am ready so what are you waiting for?," the Ukrainian said.

A Klitschko v Haye fight is the one many fans would like to see given that the two brothers will not fight each other.

Haye pulled out of a scheduled fight with Vladimir last year, citing an injury, although it was more a case of the two sides and their promoters failing to reach a deal.

A Haye-Vitali Klitschko match also failed to materialize although the Briton, with a record of 24-1-0, said after the Ruiz fight he would like to take on either of the Klitschkos.

Vladimir retained his belts with a knockout victory against Eddie Chambers in March while Vitali takes on European champion Albert Sosnowski of Poland for the WBC crown on May 29.

(Writing by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Justin Palmer)