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Holyfield Ready To Beat Akinwande

May 30, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Evander Holyfield, whose challenger will tower over him in their fight next week, isn’t concerned about any height and reach disadvantages.

``I’m in great shape and have done all the things necessary to beat a giant,″ said Holyfield, who puts his WBA and IBF titles on the line against Englishman Henry Akinwande in New York.

``He’s 6-foot-8 (actually 6-7) and I’m 6-foot-2. I’m not going to get any taller before June 6 and he’s not going to get any shorter,″ Holyfield said Friday at a news conference to hype their bout at Madison Square Garden.

``I will still be able to hit him. I’ve never fought someone that I couldn’t hit. And if I can hit a guy, I can win.″

Akinwande didn’t put up much of a fight against WBC champion Lennox Lewis on July 12, getting disqualified in the fifth round for constantly holding and grabbing.

``I only did it (clinch and hold) one time,″ Akinwande said at the news conference with Holyfield. ``Just because I lost one fight, that doesn’t mean I’m a bad fighter. I just put that fight behind me.

``Emanuel Steward (his new trainer) has shown me some different things.″

Holyfield is 35-3 with 25 KOs, while Akinwande is 33-1-1 with 19 knockouts.

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