Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield plans to fight in Beijing next May as part of a concerted effort to boost the city's international image as it bids for the 2008 Olympic Games. Chinese promoters said yesterday Holyfield would defend his World Boxing Association title against an as-yet unchosen opponent. The bout would be held at Beijing's Capital Gymnasium with an all-American staff of referees and judges. 'We can't say who he will be fighting at the moment. All we can say is that the fight will go ahead,' said professor Li Chengzhi, an official with Beijing-based Great Wall International Sports Media Co. Ltd. Li told the South China Morning Post they were trying to get Briton Lennox Lewis to fight against Holyfield. 'Yes, we want Lewis. Everything will be confirmed by the middle of next month.' Holyfield, 37, has said he wants to recover his undisputed title lost to Lewis in 1999 and then retire. Lewis, however, isn't interested in fighting Holyfield again, and former champion Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jnr have also been mentioned as alternative Holyfield opponents. Li revealed that the total cost of the bout will be US$40 million. 'That is the total cost. I can't say how much we will pay Holyfield. We are discussing that at the moment.' Holyfield made US$5 million in his August 12 bout against John Ruiz. Great Wall, which will be shouldering about 10 per cent of the fight's costs, hoped the bout's high profile would boost Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Olympics, said Li. China, bitterly disappointed at losing out to Sydney seven years ago to stage the 2000 Olympics, is promoting its 2008 bid with near-religious fervour ahead of the International Olympic Committee vote next July. Organisers believe a heavyweight bout in the months preceding the IOC vote will cast Beijing in a high-profile light and give it a huge publicity boost. The American media will follow Holyfield, and Beijing will probably dole out the red carpet treatment. Li said eight boxers were being invited to the event, although the only fighter he identified by name was Holyfield, a three-time heavyweight champion. Holyfield helped publicise an April 22 fight card in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou that included championship fights in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions and featured a bout with Laila Ali, daughter of three-time world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. That event, also promoted by Great Wall and its foreign partner, American Champion Entertainment, offered China a rare taste of boxing in its modern, professional format. Although China boasts a long tradition of martial arts, it restricts boxing to an amateur sport. Beijing had tried to secure Holyfield in March, 1994 against former WBA champion Mike Weaver, but the fight never got off the ground. Holyfield had lost his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles in a 12-round decision to Michael Moorer and had retired briefly when he was diagnosed with a minor heart problem. The fight then was supposed to take place in Beijing and was billed as 'The Brawl At The Wall II - The Return.' In 1993, Weaver won the National Boxing Association heavyweight title from Bert Cooper on the first card in Beijing in 45 years.