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Clottey For IBF Final Eliminator

Ghana's highly-rated welterweight boxer, Joshua 'The Hitter' Clottey (32-2, 19 KOs), heads to the Madison Square Garden in New York, USA, to face former WBC welterweight champion, Luis Collazo (27-3, 13 KOs), in an IBF final eliminator on November 10.

The bout is a co-main feature on the Shane Mosley/Miguel Angel Cotto WBA welterweight bill.

Clottey's last IBF eliminator was against Richard Gutierrez in California which he won by a unanimous decision in July.

Collazo, a southpaw who hails from Brooklyn, New York, has won four of his last six fights. The two, which he lost, were to Ricky Hatton last year and Shane Mosley, in February this year.

Coincidentally, Felix Flores whom Clottey defeated in his last fight also happens to be a victim of Collazo. Flores lost by a unanimous decision to Collazo in October 2004 in New York.

While the Ghanaian prepares for this crucial bout, however, he could cancel it for a second shot at the WBO welterweight title against Paul Williams, the current champion.

The possibility of this fight coming off will depend on Williams's final decision whether to defend his title against Clottey who lost a chance to snatch the title from then champion, Antonio Magarito, in December last year.

In an interview with the Graphic Sports, Clottey said the November 10 IBF eliminator was finalised by his manager, Mr Vinny Scolpino, and he would be returning to his base in the US in a few weeks to begin preparations.

Clottey will use this fight as a launch pad to his much-anticipated challenge of Kermit Cintron, the IBF Champion, early next year.

"Cintron's style suits mine and I know I can defeat him so I am really looking forward to a date with him early next year," he told this site.

The 30-year-old Ghanaian, who is currently ranked seventh among the world's 1420 welterweight boxers, said he was also glad about his high rating among the four major sanctioning bodies (WBC,WBA,WBO and IBF) but would only be content if he won a title to show for his quality.

"Enjoying a high rating is not the ultimate in boxing, it is winning titles to prove your worth so that is my main focus right now," he stressed.

According to Clottey, most boxers are still avoiding him because of his quality. "Most boxers know I have a good defence, stamina and hit very hard and because of that they always avoid me. For  most of my tune-up bouts, my opponents agreed to fight me on condition that their purses were big. But it will surely get to a time when they will have no option but to fight me," he said. 

About his most sought-after opponent, Clottey said a challenge of Kermit Cintron for the IBF title would be his dream come true. "Honestly speaking Paul Williams will be a tougher opponent because he has height and reach advantage. But at the end of the day I will fight whoever comes forward because I am title hungry. All I need to do is to prepare adequately," he said.

Clottey who is curently on holiday in Accra, said he would begin intensive training on his I return to the US in a few weeks.

Story by Nathaniel Attoh