Fight Record

  • 28.09.13

    HAYE VS Fury

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    David Haye vs Tyson Fury

  • 14.07.12

    HAYE VS Chisora

    W KO 5

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    David Haye vs. Dereck Chisora

    The talking stopped on Saturday, July 14 at West Ham's Upton Park stadium. David Haye and Dereck Chisora, heavyweight contenders, Londoners and bitter rivals, convened in a ring situated in the middle of a rain-sodden football pitch and looked to settle their feud the right way, with gloves and punches. There would be witnesses in the form of referee Luis Pabon and 35,000 expectant fight fans, all of whom packed inside Upton Park and prayed for something special. Something decisive.

    The fighters prowled the ring with similar intent. Following months of controversy, hype and commotion, they too wanted resolution. And maybe that's why both Haye and Chisora started their scheduled ten-rounder at a brisk pace normally non-existent in heavyweight encounters. It was a tempo motivated by impatience, as well as a mutual desire to get their hands on each other. Instantly, the spectacle, though now regulated, was every bit as raw and dangerous as their previous ballyhooed meetings.

    Haye, the favourite, was first to fire, with both the jab and right cross, and was probing with devilish intent before the majority of the crowd had sat back down on their seats following the introductions. Negative steps were few and far between and, instead, the one-time cruiserweight sought to invade Chisora's space and prevent the Finchley man from surging forward in waves.

    Yet, despite the strong nature of the start, it was Chisora who got through with the first meaningful shot of the bout, as he clipped Haye with a wild left hook near the ropes. Surprised rather than shaken, the former champion locked arms and walked his smaller opponent back.

    For the remainder of the round, Haye controlled the action with quicker hands and feet and made a concerted effort to throw before Chisora was able to. Typically a counterpuncher, 'The Hayemaker' was forced to get off first in order to keep his foe from setting and to also nab momentum from him. Rest for a second and his arch nemesis would be all over him like a cheap pashmina scarf.

    Haye's punch selection was also noteworthy. Traditionally a one-two man, with a devastating jab and right cross, he had, for this fight, resigned himself to using a variety of other shots to prise open the shell in front of him. His left hand was thrown in the form of a tight hook and looping uppercut, while the straight right was often employed as a lead as Chisora attempted to get close. All in all, it was Haye at his versatile best, constantly keeping his man off balance and guessing.

    He was having to work hard for it, though. The opening rounds were fast-paced, featuring lots of punches, and it was Haye doing most of the punching. He'd usually rather look than hook, but, against Chisora, there appeared no time to pose.

    Figuring he was falling behind on the cards, Dereck came out briskly to start round three and, clearly desperate to land something - anything – resorted to sporadic bursts of roundhouse swings and clubbing shots, most of which missed by inches. Haye, the better mover, and more technically astute of the two, was adept at drawing Chisora in and feeding off his errors. And then, when they'd re-set and start again, he'd return to spearing his man with the jab and lead right cross from a distance, thrown at the moment Chisora looked to set himself and chuck his own shots.

    Tactically, it was masterful stuff from Haye, right up there with the 2007 clinic he pitched against Jean-Marc Mormeck to win the world cruiserweight titles, only this time he was saved the inconvenience of being knocked down. Nevertheless, he was still in a brawl, and Chisora remained game and willing for as long as he was upright. He also enjoyed his finest moment in the dying seconds of round three, as he chased Haye down, walked through a sharp right hand and landed a wide left hook of his own as the favourite stumbled backwards. The connection occurred just after the bell, but Chisora didn't care. So long as he was in range to punch, he was going to do just that. Moreover, he'd found scant target to hit in the first three rounds, and was out to grab whatever crumbs fell his way.

    He wouldn't get many more clear-cut chances, either. Haye, now breathing heavily, began to let meatier shots go with regularity in round four and, each time the pair traded, seemed to come out on top. His faster feet allowed him to explore positions and land punches before Chisora even knew where he'd disappeared to.

    As the pair entered round five, it became abundantly clear Dereck was losing his discipline and had settled for throwing junk at Haye in the hope something would stick. It wasn't measured or particularly accurate and, towards the end of the round, he paid the ultimate price. An ugly, wayward slap of a right fist was countered by a savage left cross from Haye, thrown from a momentary southpaw stance, with his back to the ropes. The shot shattered the tip of Chisora's chin, and he dropped to the ground almost immediately.

    A knockout blow under normal circumstances, Chisora, famed for durability, rolled over, got to his knees and was up at the count of seven. But, with little over twenty seconds left in the round, Haye set about finishing matters. He nailed his wounded opponent with an immediate right uppercut, before falling into a clinch. Once set free, however, he was frantic and merciless, battering Chisora with five punches in succession, each landing flush on the chin and sending him to the canvas flat on his back. Incredibly, he rose once again, but referee Luis Pabon had seen enough, ending Chisora's torment with just one second to go in the round.

  • 02.07.11

    HAYE VS Klitschko

    L UD 12

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    David Haye vs. Wladimir Klitschko

    At long last the heavyweight division is unified. On Saturday night (July 2) in Hamburg, premier heavyweights Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye put their horde of world title belts on the line and squabbled for twelve absorbing rounds in order to decide who left with the spoils. Alas, following 36 minutes of tense action, it was Ukrainian Klitschko who added Haye's WBA title to his collection of IBF, WBO and IBO belts.

    Hamburg's Imtech Arena fell victim to a rain shower of biblical proportions both before and during the fight, and this went some way to dampening the spirits of Haye's substantial travelling army. Yet, by the night's end, they were nowhere near as despondent as the gutsy Briton no longer in possession of a world title.

    Haye probed and analysed for much of the twelve rounds, but, aside from momentary flashpoints in the third and final rounds, never came close to loosening Klitschko's tight grip on the division. He moved well enough, that was never in doubt, yet seemed to lack the same explosiveness and ability to turn defence into attack that had been a staple of previous heavyweight outings. Indeed, for much of the bout, Haye was resigned to circling the ring and moving his head to keep out of harm's way.

    Of course, Klitschkos' size, jab and ability to judge distance were the primary reasons behind Haye's inability to land. The huge champion used every inch of his physical advantages to claim the centre of a rain-soaked ring and then keep it for the duration. When Haye looked to rush him, he stepped back and disciplined him with a jab, sometimes two of them. When Haye looked to move, Klitschko simply edged forward and lined him up with a further selection of left leads. No matter what his foe decided to do, Klitschko remained true to his simple yet effective game plan, the emphasis always on control.

    At times Haye displayed admirable defensive smarts and moved, ducked and weaved like a middleweight. In fact, never before had a heavyweight challenged Klitschko and received so little punishment. But, despite his tight defence and slick movement, the Englishman dropped rounds due to low punch volume and a lack of exclamation marks. And while Klitschko wasn't racking up big numbers himself, his overall ring generalship and ability to dictate the pace of the contest made him a firm favourite in the eyes of the ringside judges.

    Clean at first, the action became messier as Haye grew desperate and Klitschko grew anxious to hold on. Time and time again, Haye would lunge with punches, fall off balance and then be shoved to the floor by either a Klitschko forearm and shoulder. And time and time again he'd be instructed to get to his feet by referee Genaro Rodriguez. But then, in the eleventh round, Rodriguez grew tired of the charade and unfairly judged one of these shoves as a knockdown, a decision that cost Haye a point at a time when he was frantically trying to claw them back.

    In the end, though, that docked point would prove to be inconsequential. Haye rallied to win the twelfth and final round, and landed his biggest punch of the fight in the process, but it simply wasn't enough. The judges handed Klitschko the full assortment of belts by scores of 118-109, 117-109 and 116-110.

  • 13.11.10

    HAYE VS Harrison

    W TKO 3

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    David Haye vs. Audley Harrison

    He promised the world, but delivered barely a jab. Inside the MEN Arena, Manchester, Audley Harrison, one-time Olympic gold medallist and national hero, stepped towards David Haye in the centre of the ring and towered above the former cruiserweight, every physical advantage stacked in his favour, destiny on his mind. Yet, despite the infectious mantras and the bigger frame, his eyes, the most telling sign of all, projected only fear in the face of his enemy.

    The crowd roared in anticipation, knowing they would witness either a one-sided shellacking, as promised by Haye, or one of the most shocking and dramatic conclusions to any Hollywood blockbuster, as guaranteed by Harrison. Haye's WBA world heavyweight title was up for grabs, of course, but this fight had now become bigger than just that. It was personal, it had a back-story and, ultimately, it had been a crossover success, attracting interest normally unheard of before a boxing match. In the weeks leading up to the fight the participants couldn't walk anywhere without being stopped and asked about it.

    Nevertheless, despite the talk and the story lines, when the hours dwindle and all that's left is a ring and two gloved-up competitors, reality is quick to nudge fantasy out of the way. While a great ring battle was frequently promised, those in the know remained sceptical. Even Harrison, the most convincing of the many characters involved, was also his own biggest cynic. The closer he got to the first bell the more he began to doubt his own boasts and plans. He never admitted this self-doubt, of course, but he didn't need to, either. His eyes told us all we needed to know.

    In stark contrast, Haye's eyes screamed only violence and bad intentions. Unlike some, he had never bought into Harrison's story or his many rallying calls. All he saw was a fragile former Olympian, a man he had once befriended and then, years later, beaten up in sparring. Their separate journeys had cast a blemish on their relationship and now they had to settle a dispute the old-fashioned way.

    For two rounds they seemed more friends than foes, however. Harrison, eyes still bulging with trepidation, circled the ring and kept out of harm's way, while Haye, quicker but smaller, bided his time before uncoiling. This stand-off made for a messy opening to the fight and it wasn't long before the 20,000 fans in the arena began to boo. There were many threatened punches, and even the occasional jab, but very little that could be described as anything close to penetrating.

    This all changed in the third round, though, when Haye stopped pretending and started fighting. He put his foot on the gas and simply invaded Harrison's space, doing so with the support of vicious left and right punches. Audley, still dazed by the occasion, never saw it coming. He stood prone by the ropes and caught a volley of straight right crosses to the head, before eventually flopping to the canvas on his side.

    And though he pulled his six-foot-six frame upright on the referee's count of eight, his gum shield was absent and he still had ninety seconds left to survive in the round. Unsteady and hurting, the signs were ominous.

    To his credit, Haye wasted no time in finishing matters. He raced across the ring, cocked his right hand and then proceeded to unload a further few punches on the unprotected head of his former friend. Seconds later, it was all over. Haye had won the dispute, and nobody, not even Audley Harrison, was in the least bit surprised.

  • 03.04.10

    HAYE VS Ruiz

    W TKO 9

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    David Haye vs. John Ruiz

    Britain's newly-crowned world heavyweight champion David 'The Hayemaker' Haye took a giant step over a potential banana skin first defence last night (April 3rd) in Manchester, as he softened up and stopped John Ruiz in nine one-sided rounds.

    The WBA's number one-ranked contender was floored four times in total, and found himself on the seat of his pants after merely 22 seconds of the very first round. However, it was a sign of both Ruiz' incredible resilience and durability that he lasted into the ninth round with the heavy-handed and destructive Haye.

    Despite Ruiz' immense show of bravery, experienced cornerman Miguel Diaz had seen enough mid-way through round nine, and waved the white towel in a symbolic gesture of surrender. Ruiz had been stopped for only the second time in his 53-bout professional career and the first time for 14 years.

    Tactical last time out against Nikolai Valuev in November, the 29-year-old Haye was back to his gunslinging and cavalier best at the Manchester Evening News (M.E.N) Arena. Keen to meet fire with fire from the off, Haye slipped and dodged Ruiz' early rush, before unleashing a vicious and powerful one-two combination. The jab fell short, but the follow-up right hand pierced Ruiz' guard and cracked the granite-chinned Puerto Rican flush on the jaw. Rarely floored or hurt, Ruiz flew backwards on to the ring canvas, with barely 20 seconds of the bout gone.

    The determined Ruiz shot up at the count of five, but was clearly unsettled by the speed and impact of the punch. His legs became heavy and is intentions had switched from pressure to survival.

    Desperate to become only the second man to ever stop 'The Quiet Man', Haye surged towards Ruiz upon the restart and looked to land anything and everything. He missed wildly with looping left-hooks and roundhouse right hands, before two right-hooks to the side of Ruiz' head sent the former champion hurtling towards the ropes. A further right hand to the back of Ruiz' cranium scrambled the challenger's senses and dropped him to the floor for a second time in the round. Ruiz protested the illegal blow and, in a bizarre turn of events, referee Guillermo Perez scored the knockdown as legitimate and then deducted a point from Haye for an illegal rabbit punch.

    Ruiz was again upright by the count of five and readied himself for the incoming onslaught. With a little less than two minutes remaining, Haye had all the time in the world to size up his victim and bring the curtain down prematurely on Ruiz' challenge.

    Haye jabbed cleverly to the body and then followed up with two hard and straight right hands to the face, as Ruiz backed off sheepishly in centre ring. With the three-knockdown rule in effect, Haye did everything in his power to drop Ruiz for a third and final time. He slung manic right hands and left-hooks and threw Ruiz off of him whenever 'The Quiet Man' returned to the grappling and mauling style of old.

    The challenger took some further heavy leather in the final 90 seconds, including a flush left-hook, but was able to utilise his survival instincts and durability to see out the round. By the round's conclusion, Ruiz was, in fact, the fighter coming forward and throwing punches - albeit of the tired and desperate variety. Even so, it was a remarkable turnaround for Ruiz, given how bamboozled he'd been two-and-a-half minutes previous to that.

    With the first-round frenzy over, both men settled into a more sustainable and sensible rhythm in round two. Ruiz set the pace and continued to roam forwards, while Haye made use of his stunning left-jab to provide answers to each question the challenger posed. Hands low and body loose, Haye would move side-to-side on Ruiz, never giving him a solid target, and would then walk him on to hard left-leads or stinging right hand counters.

    The American warrior's only sign of light arrived when Haye would back up to the ropes and become static. Ruiz would then rally with right-crosses and left-hooks, in an attempt to land something on the elusive Haye. The Londoner would catch many shots on his gloves, or simply glide away from them, but some were getting through.

    Haye was content to cruise on the back-foot and set traps for Ruiz, capitalising whenever John fell short with a left-jab or left any gaps in his defence. Although Ruiz continued to press on the front-foot through the first quarter of the bout, Haye was the one producing the eye-catching and crisper work.

    The difference in power was also notable, as Haye's flush shots would have a visible effect on his gutsy opponent. Ruiz would land the occasional jab or right hand, but Haye never seemed fussed or unnerved by the power.

    Ruiz found more openings in rounds three and four, as Haye's workrate and defence dropped. Initially expecting to blow his opponent away early, Haye now appeared to realise he may have to settle down into a longer, perhaps more gruelling type of affair. Luckily, this was exactly the kind of fight Haye expected when walking into the ring 15 minutes beforehand, so was able to mentally adjust.

    The challenger appeared rejuvenated and galvanised by his ability to soak up Haye's early blast and still be standing and pitching back. He trudged forwards - sometimes into counter-punches - and was content to take some in order to give some.

    Haye became sloppy with his power shots, but was still impressive whenever he reverted to his basic and blindingly fast left-jab. His use of this particular shot brought to mind former world heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in his fighting prime. Such was the jab's potency, Haye didn't seem to require anything else to control Ruiz and bust up his reddening face. Haye's jab appeared as lethal and heavy as most fighters' power shots.

    Knowing no better, Ruiz' strategy through the middle rounds was to simply walk Haye down, ride out the storm of thudding jabs, and hopefully outlast the gifted champion. He seemingly had no other option but to take flush shots to the face and try and see through the fog at the end of it all. As a result, Ruiz suffered a shattered cheek bone, broken nose and numerous swellings and cuts for his troubles.

    Yet, despite Ruiz' deformed look and his desperate game plan, he remained hopeful of outlasting Haye in the second half of the contest. He believed he'd walked through Haye's best shots and that the worst of it was over. He expected self-doubt to creep inside Haye's head and suck all the life from his legs and punches.

    Unfortunately for Ruiz, Haye never even contemplated the idea of defeat. Instead, Haye dropped Ruiz for the third time in the bout at the end of the fifth round.

    The champion swaggered casually towards the ropes, before sprining on Ruiz with a sudden burst of jabs and right crosses. Shocked by the ambush, Ruiz covered up and dropped to one knee. Once again complaining about a rabbit punch, Ruiz rose on seven and rode out the inevitable Haye flurry to end the session.

    Haye wouldn't have to wait long to return Ruiz to the ring canvas. Entering the sixth round, Haye appeared to have gained his second wind and was now firing with more intent, accuracy and speed. He would beckon Ruiz into range, spin off and then nail the gutsy challenger with right hands.

    Haye's impersonation of the shoulder-roll brought about the next knockdown, as he deflected Ruiz' attack behind his shoulder and then unleashed a right hand counter-punch in retort. A further barrage of right hands sent Ruiz to the deck for the fourth time in the contest.

    Never beaten, Ruiz once again rose and prepared himself for Haye's attempt to finish. Haye loaded up on every punch to get the desired result, but couldn't silence 'The Quiet Man'. By the end of the round, it was hard to determine whether Haye's power would bring an end to the bout or, conversely, his desperation to make that power count would lead to his own downfall. 'The Hayemaker' once more put his all into getting Ruiz out of there, but to no avail.

    While Haye struggled to keep Ruiz grounded, the American's corner were now keeping a close and concerned eye on their charge. He was being slowly and mercilessly beaten up by Haye and, facially at least, he was no longer recognisable.

    With calls of 'one more round' ringing in his ears, Ruiz set about Haye more in round seven, slightly increasing his pace and punch out-put. Haye looked to get some more spring in his legs and relied primarily on his expert left-jab. By now, Ruiz' attempts to get close were futile, as Haye had taken so much out of his opponent's legs and strength reserves. Rather than getting close and smothering, Ruiz was now stuck in deadly mid-range - a perilous position for any Haye opponent.

    Haye was happy to move around the ring and pot-shot his foe with clean jabs and the odd counter right hand. He stepped up the pressure in the eighth, landing a number of punishing right hands and left-hooks on the contorted face of Ruiz.

    Heading into the ninth, Haye was now in a position to act as puppet master with his left-jab. The ever-slowing Ruiz was stuck in the mud and was being prodded and pained by each shot Haye decided to throw. David could control the pace and Ruiz' movements with his jab, as well as use it to set up his own power shots.

    Haye switched it up for the finish, as he sprung forward with a lead right-cross, followed by a sharp left-jab, before swinging a left-hook to the body and a final right-hook to the head. Bloodied and tired, Ruiz sagged back on the ropes and was compassionately saved by trainer Miguel Diaz, who held the white towel aloft in the corner. The stoppage came about with only a minute to go in the round and three rounds left in the fight.

    He'd done it. Haye had become only the second man to ever stop Ruiz and the first for some 14 years. The exciting Bermondsey fighter had retained his WBA world heavyweight title for the first time and destroyed his number one contender. 'The Hayemaker's heavyweight reign of terror is just getting started...

  • 07.11.09

    HAYE VS Valuev

    W MD 12

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    David Haye vs. Nikolai Valuev

    Britain crowned a new world heavyweight champion on Saturday night (November 7) in Nuremberg, Germany, as David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye snatched the WBA crown from the grasp of Nikolai Valuev following 12 rounds of pugilistic dominance.

    The former WBC, WBA and WBO world cruiserweight champion made the jump to heavyweight and staged a tactical and disciplined display to diffuse ‘The Beast From The East’. The Bermondsey puncher turned boxer to comfortably outbox the champion and head back to England with a majority decision verdict, via scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 114-114.

    The 29-year-old Haye came good on a promise he made to his mother at only three years of age, as he successfully lifted the coveted world heavyweight title in only his 24th pro contest. In control for much of the scheduled 12-round contest, Haye never veered from his game plan and never appeared to doubt his own strategy.

    Valuev suffered only the second defeat of his 52-bout pro career and was outboxed soundly from start to finish. Lumbering and lethargic at times, Valuev attempted to swat Haye, but could never land with anything more than sporadic left jabs. Unable to set up any attacks, Valuev would often fall short with his slower shots and then walk into sharp Haye counter-punches.

    ‘The Hayemaker’s mantra appeared to be to make Valuev miss and then make him pay. Time and time again, Haye would stand in range of Valuev with his hands by his waist, only to then tantalisingly twist and jerk his body away from impending attack. Haye was too quick, too clever and too sharp to be struck by anything Valuev huffed and puffed his way.

    A big right hand in the second round, followed by another in the fifth, punctuated Haye’s impressive start to the fight. He also worked intelligently and diligently to Valuev’s body, placing sharp left-jabs to the giant’s sizeable mid-section. This tactic allowed Haye to create space for himself and also offset any attacking plans Valuev may have had.

    This pattern of Valuev chasing – slowly – and Haye playing matador continued through 11 rounds. Valuev was too slow to catch Haye and the Briton was too measured and mobile to make the mistakes the Russian was praying on.

    Finally in the 12th round, Haye found the big shots and desired effect he’d searched for all night. Despite breaking his hand on Valuev’s chin in the early portion of the fight, Haye was still willing to sling hard leather in the championship rounds.

    Sensing he needed a knockout, Valuev stalked Haye in the final round, committing more to his shots and taking more risks. Sensing his target was becoming even larger, Haye launched a stunning left-right-left hook combination and the final shot visibly staggered the normally steadfast champion. The 36-year-old Valuev wobbled and held against the ropes as Haye swarmed in, intent on finishing the fight.

    To his credit, Valuev recovered well and, with the help of some generous refereeing, managed to hear the final bell. Haye, meanwhile, celebrated his performance in the final seconds by raising his arm aloft in a premature victory lap.

    Alas, despite the threat of away judges, Haye picked up a deserved verdict at the bout’s conclusion. The talented Brit received final confirmation via Michael Buffer’s uttering of, ‘From London, England…’. Haye, and the thousands of British fans in attendance, erupted into joyous scenes of celebration, well aware they’d just experienced one of the greatest overseas ring performances of recent times.

    Haye moves to 23-1 (21 KO), becomes a two-weight world champion, and adds the WBA world heavyweight title to the glut of belts he won as the number one cruiserweight in the world. He also becomes the first British fighter to ever win two world titles on foreign territory, having defeated Valuev in Nuremberg and also conquered Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris (November 2007) for the WBC and WBA world cruiserweight belts.

  • 15.11.08

    HAYE VS Barrett

    W KO 5

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    David Haye vs. Monte Barrett

    On Saturday night (November 15) at The O2 in North Greenwich, David 'The Hayemaker' Haye emphatically tossed his name into the heavyweight hat with a brutal five-round demolition of perennial contender Monte 'Two Gunz' Barrett.

    Deemed the ideal gatekeeper or barometer of Haye's heavyweight progress, New Yorker Barrett found himself overwhelmed and eventually stopped in chilling fashion by a Haye combination at 1.28 of the fifth round.

    Speaking afterwards, the 28-year-old Haye admitted that Barrett "buzzed" him on occasion and revealed that the American's heavyweight bombs made cruiserweight punches pale in comparison.

    "It was fun in there", said Haye, now 22-1 (21 KO) and a former WBC, WBA and WBO world cruiserweight champion. "Once someone buzzes me, that is when I then plant my feet and start swinging away. Adam (Booth, manager and trainer) goes crazy but the crowd love it. Barrett's jabs were the equivalent of a cruiserweight's right hand. That's something I'll have to get used to."

    Barrett's danger, recklessness and wild sense of abandonment was noted beforehand and was swiftly and dramatically exemplified as he entered the glorious O2 Arena. Opting to take an ambitious run and jump over the top rope, Barrett ended up suffering his first heavy knockdown of the evening as he tripped and tumbled into the ring. Triggering rapturous laughter and cheers from the 10,000-strong O2 crowd, Barrett bounced around in awkward attempts to shake off the humiliation.

    In stark contrast, and now becoming something of a trademark, Haye swaggered and swayed his way to the ring with all the ease and saccharine of a matinee idol. Without a care in the world - and with no intention to hurdle the top rope - Haye soaked up the atmosphere in a scene duplicated from his March massacre against Enzo Maccarinelli.

    Looking in tremendous shape at 226-pounds, Barrett flexed and stared at Haye as he slipped between the ropes. It was only now that the heavyweight realisation hit home. Haye's trainer, Adam Booth, said in the aftermath: "Barrett looked massive in there. He looked strong and thick. David had got to his weight purely on boxing training - no weights. Barrett looked much bigger and he knew it."

    Barrett's size was, ultimately, inconsequential. Haye, slimmer at 215-pounds, used his ring savvy, hand speed and ability to keep Barrett guessing in order to steal positions. He jabbed well in the first round - to head and body - and would occasionally make Barrett miss or nervously fall short with his own punches. Often the mere threat of Haye's counter-shots forced Barrett to carry the look of an anxious man.

    Things heated up in the second round as Barrett started to close the distance and take chances. Letting his hands go more freely, the 37-year-old Barrett started to ask Haye questions. He'd throw left hooks and swooping rights with the sole intention of taking Haye out. There was no plan to outbox Haye or set anything up. No delusions of a points win. Barrett was gunning for the one-punch knockout from the get-go.

    Though carrying obvious danger, Barrett's recklessness played into Haye's hands. Never one to refuse a trade-off, Haye would punch with Barrett and often get their first given his superior hand speed and timing. Pivotally, this happened in the third round as Haye swung a wide left-hook that glanced off Barrett's chin and forced the American to stumble to the floor. Stunned rather than hurt, he climbed to his feet immediately.

    The following onslaught from Haye was as frantic as it was inevitable. Throwing any sense of game plan or tactics out the window, Haye put faith in wild right hands and left-hooks to try and force the stoppage. Meanwhile, Barrett - a fighter who loves to live on the edge - happily took his chances and traded with the quicker Haye.

    With 20 seconds to run in the third round, Haye scored his second knockdown of the night, brought about via a cuffing right hand to the side of Barrett's head. The New Yorker stumbled forward on to his knees and took a deep breath. The heat was beginning to overwhelm him. He had nowhere to breathe, let alone run.

    Despite making it out of the torrid third round, Haye's fire never relented. Legs now unsteady and self-doubt waiting at the door, Barrett fought like a man who knew his only chance was to get lucky. Self-applied assertions of him being the better boxer, the faster puncher and the bigger puncher were now rendered mere pipe dreams. All were false and Barrett knew it. A third knockdown followed in the fourth as Haye made Barrett miss, poked him with a left-hook and spun out. Off balance, Barrett dropped to the floor. Complaining it was only a slip, Barrett rose quickly.

    If the third knockdown was debatable, the fourth most certainly wasn't. With 20 seconds to go in the round, Barrett lurched forwards, flurried his hands and dramatically walked directly into a beautifully-picked Haye right uppercut. The shot sliced through Monte's non-existent guard and pierced the heavyweight's chin. Seemingly unconscious for a split second, Barrett dropped to the floor and snapped out of it.

    While on the floor, Barrett stared up at referee Richie Davies with the look of a man who didn't expect the kind of firepower he'd tasted. Now he was hurt. These weren't glancing blows or slips. Hauling himself up at nine, Barrett managed to just about see out the round on unsteady legs as Haye went in for the kill.

    Out of time in the previous round, Haye had only one thing on his mind as he entered the fifth round. Hell-bent on finishing proceedings as quickly as possible, Haye came out swinging - some landing, some missing - and nearly walked into trouble. Shooting wide with a right hand and left-hook, Haye squared up and was caught - almost pushed - to the floor by a Barrett left arm.

    As Haye fell back onto the ring canvas, Barrett mercilessly followed up with a vicious left-hook to his grounded opponent. Referee Davies was given no alternative but to dock a point from Barrett for the illegal blow.

    A little shaken by it all, Haye took a momentary time-out before re-commencing his destruction of Barrett. It took him only 20 seconds of the re-start to finish matters.

    A hard left-hook, followed by an even harder straight right hand sent Barrett's head spinning, before Haye closed the show with a concussive left-hook. Barrett fell heavily and with no intention to rise again. The referee called off the count before he'd even begun.

    The heavyweight 'Hayemaker' had arrived. Now a bonafide force in the heavyweight division, Haye's destruction of Barrett left ringsider Vitali Klitschko with one or two things to ponder in the coming months. Britain finally has a heavyweight to get excited about. Furthermore, the world finally has a heavyweight to get excited about.

  • 08.03.08

    HAYE VS Maccarinelli

    Manchester, GB

    W KO 2

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    David Haye vs. Enzo Maccarinelli

    He promised it would be easy, and predicted the end would come within two rounds. Prophetic and powerful, David Haye was right on both counts, as last night he bludgeoned domestic rival Enzo Maccarinelli to defeat inside six minutes at London's O2 Arena. In doing so, he unified the cruiserweight division by adding the Welshman's WBO world cruiserweight belt to his own collection of WBC and WBA world titles.

    Promoter Frank Warren labelled the battle of the 27-year-old British cruiserweights as the country's biggest ring collision for fifteen years, and, motivated by hype and the promise of a classic, 18,000 fans crammed into the north Greenwich venue in the early hours of Sunday morning. And with the first bell scheduled to toll at around 2am, the anticipation reached unbearable levels as the two fighters made their way to the ring.

    Many years in the making, this was the moment they had been waiting for. Haye, the showman, the capital's playboy, against Maccarinelli, the humble, softly-spoken man from the valleys. They only thing they shared in common was a propensity to win cruiserweight bouts via knockout.

    Given this knack of conjuring knockouts – typically quick ones – most in the arena expected an abrupt finish to the unification match. The consensus opinion was that Maccarinelli had as much of knocking Haye out as Haye had of knocking Maccarinelli out. Whoever lands first, they said, over and over, like confused cult leaders. In the opinion of many, there could be no possible way either Haye or Maccarinelli stood up to any sustained punishment. The finish, they said, had to be quick and devastating.

    Yet these assumptions seemed ill-founded during the first three rounds of the fight. Both men landed early left-hooks, but neither were anything like definitive blows. Maccarinelli's caught Haye off balance and forced a momentary stumble, while Haye's retort, thrown later in the round, smacked his foe in the face, but failed to so much as budge him. And so, two flashpoints aside, the opening round was marked up as part of the feeling-out process and, in the eyes of harsher critics, something of a bore.

    The fight lived up to expectations in the second round, however, when Haye suffered a minor slice above his eye, realised blood had been spilled, and then set about ending matters as swiftly as possible. Maccarinelli, taken by surprise, was caught in the crossfire, and despite his best intentions to stay away and take Haye into the second half of the fight, there was no escaping the lightning fast right hands that were launched his way. Time and time again Haye measured his counterpunches to perfection and cleverly walked Maccarinelli on to them.

    After eating two flush right hands in the centre of the ring, the Welshman decided to move. But this only opened more space in which Haye could pounce. So that is exactly what he did, firing further rights, one of which caught Enzo on the jaw and sent him spinning towards the canvas. Follow-up blows from Haye applied the exclamation mark. Maccarinelli was down and in grave danger.

    Referee John Keane followed the floored fighter's unsteady totter around the ring, a look of indecision etched upon his face. He could see what we could all see. Maccarinelli's legs had betrayed him and, though his heart remained willing, his body and mind had just about given up. Mercifully, Keane sensed this and signalled an end to both the Swansea man's night and reign as WBO world cruiserweight champion.

    As a slight stream of blood crept down the side of his face, Haye raised both fists towards the sky and prepared his waist for the arrival of an additional world title. Unified and undisputed, he was also, evidently, a fighting fortune teller.

  • 10.11.07

    HAYE VS Mormeck

    W KO 7

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    David Haye vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck

    “There’s something not right with him. It was all in his eyes at the weigh-in. Mormeck couldn’t look at me. It was like he didn’t want to be there.”

    Those were the thoughts of newly-crowned WBC and WBA world cruiserweight champion David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye three hours before he touched gloves with former champion Jean-Marc Mormeck on November 10 at the Palais Des Sports Marcel Cerdan in Levallois, France.

    Three and a half hours later, Mormeck, the hometown French hero, would slump at the feet of mandatory challenger Haye following an incredible, come-from-behind, seventh-round barrage. Mormeck’s eyes were now glazed. Haye, in only his 21st fight, had become the undisputed division number one.

    The nature of the finish was as frighteningly swift as Haye’s ascension to the peak of the 200 lbs division. It was only three years and ten fights ago that Carl Thompson forced BBC commentator Jim Neilly to declare, “David Haye’s career is in tatters”, upon halting the Bermondsey prospect. Written off and derided for the way in which he suffered his sole defeat, Haye vowed to bounce back and fulfil his dream of becoming world cruiserweight king.

    In response, the 27-year-old freewheeler of the division soared up the WBC rankings and defended the European cruiserweight title three times. Haye blitzed the world-class Alexander Gurov in 45 seconds and passed gut-checks in gruelling title defences against unbeatens Giaccobe Fragomeni and Lasse Johansen.

    Improving with each fight, ‘The Hayemaker’ was then handed his shot at full-circle rehabilitation by WBC and WBA champion Mormeck, now 33-4 (22). The chance to complete half of his dream – the other half will occur a few pounds north at heavyweight.

    Sensing another almighty struggle to break the 200 lbs cruiserweight limit for one final time against Mormeck, Haye moved to North Cyprus in May. The idea was to sculpt his body down from his natural weight to a wholly un-natural, cruiserweight state. A postponement to the original September 28 date made things a little easier, but only in the way a swift bullet to the head is easier than prolonged castration.

    Weighing 199 and a half pounds, Haye looked slim and trim. Mormeck, a notch above 199, looked thick and stocky. It was, in effect, a direct representation of their styles. Haye is the fast, sharp, stinging puncher and Mormeck, the bull-like, top-heavy craftsman.

    “David has never been in this kind of shape before,” stressed Haye’s long-time trainer Adam Booth. “He’s in a position to throw more punches in this fight than he’s ever done before.”

    In his hotel room, merely hours before fight time, Haye zoned in on YouTube videos of significance to the fight ahead. He watched highlights of the 1951 battle between Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta – a slick, spiteful puncher against a rough-and-ready brawler. He also watched compilations of the lightweight version of another ‘Sugar’, Shane Mosley.

    All the while, Haye acts as relaxed as any fighter I’ve ever seen. “It doesn’t even feel like I’m about to fight – let alone fight for the world titles,” he said, while shadowboxing to McFadden and Whitehead’s ‘Aint No Stopping Us Now’, the song he’d later use for his ring entrance.

    Haye doesn’t do nerves. Instead, he tidied his hotel room with the same perfectionist attitude he’d need later that night. “I tidy my room before every fight,” David said. “I don’t even know why I do it."

    It’s only when arriving at the Palais Des Sports Marcel Cerdan arena that the immense task Haye faced hit home – the kind of mission that, away from home, lesser men turn down. Packed to the rafters with French fans, the arena was hot, sticky, and intense. Like York Hall on steroids.

    On a ringside table sat a menacing stone sculpture of Mormeck’s head. Renowned for his solid chin and unbreakable will, the stone sculpture was a solemn, foreboding sign of what Haye could expect.

    However, once inside the ring, Mormeck’s mean exterior seemed to betray him. It made way for a more relaxed and passive look. Haye, on the other hand, had traded in his carefree swagger for a, you-stole-my-woman, sinister, murderous stare.

    Despite the pre-fight, early knockout hullabaloo, both men fought to type early doors. The maturing Haye, now 20-1 (19), boxed like the Haye of 2006 – calm, measured and patient – while Mormeck, never blistering out the gate, was content to cover up and make Haye work.

    When a defence is as water-tight as Mormeck’s, it can essentially act as a good form of offence. The French slugger relies on the incapability of his opponent piercing his defence as a means of gaining an upper hand.

    Sensing this, Haye threw very few left-jabs and even fewer straight right hands – normally a pet-punch for the Bermondsey man. Investing heavily on left hooks and right hooks to the body, Haye stole the first round on workrate alone. “Those bolo shots to the body with the right hand could come in really useful,” Haye said before the fight, while watching Sugar Ray wail away to LaMotta’s mid-section. “They’re quick and take nothing out of you.”

    Aware of Haye’s confidence-building first session, Mormeck, 35, noticeably picked up his workrate in the following two rounds. Rather than retreating, he was now forcing a little more. Taking a page out of Fragomeni’s approach to pressuring Haye, Mormeck shortened up his shots and made them quicker. He left his famous hooks at home and instead fired fast, short, straight lefts and rights. With every shot ‘The Marksman’ slung, the French crowd roared.

    Nevertheless, Haye was making investments. Though no quick pay off, Haye’s work to Mormeck’s body was as impressive as he’s ever done throughout his five-year career. Left hooks and right hooks – sometimes even in succession – were crippling Mormeck’s body and gradually lowering his arms.

    Yet it was Haye’s susceptibility to Mormeck’s long punches that brought about the first dramatic twist in the action. Early in the fourth round, while retreating to a neutral corner, Haye was caught on the temple by a glancing Mormeck left hook which sent the London hope reeling to the ropes on unsteady legs. A combination of a further right hand and a slip on the canvas acted as the cue for Haye to perform a boogaloo dance and take a knee.

    “I was gone,” Haye candidly admitted afterwards. “My left leg knew where it wanted to be, but my right leg had a mind of its own.”

    Wisely, Haye took the full eight-count. Upon rising, his legs remained shaky but his eyes appeared to be clear. He registered referee Guido Cavarelli’s count and went right at Mormeck from the restart. He clinched the buoyant champion and walked him backwards – a tactic Haye used to great effect throughout the bout.

    “What shot was it?” asked Haye as he slumped down on his stool at the round’s conclusion. Aware of the need to make another impression on Mormeck, Haye started the following round, the fifth, at a brisk pace. He whacked right hooks and left hooks into the head of Mormeck, and switched attacks downstairs with the kind of seamless sophistication the ‘Sugarman’ used to employ.

    Mormeck, for his part, didn’t go all out, as many expected. He continued to march Haye down, offering very little for the challenger to hit. A more relaxed Haye began utilising his left hand more – as a jab, hook and an uppercut – figuring Mormeck’s defence against the right cross was just too resolute.

    This sense of Haye finding his feet again was only heightened in the sixth as Haye conducted one of the best rounds of his 21-fight career. Crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on his, up to that point, patchy defence, Haye made Mormeck miss big punches at will throughout the three minutes. He slipped jabs, parried right hands, and leaned away from Mormeck’s heavy combinations. His defensive work on the ropes was improvised, instinctive and inspired at times.

    While Mormeck huffed and puffed and hit thin air, he was slammed hard to the gut by rights and lefts. One left to the body, in particular, had Mormeck non-responsive for a good 30 seconds after it landed. A hard Haye right hook to the heady stirred a similar reaction, too.

    “Perfect,” was the review from trainer Booth as Haye rested between rounds. “32 punches,” added Booth. “You’re well within”. Before the contest, Booth had informed me that Haye was averaging 85 punches-per-round at their Ozankoy gym in North Cyprus. These precise obsessions with the maths of the fight simply made Haye aware of how much more he had left in him.

    Going into the seventh, Mormeck was left only too aware of how much Haye had in the tank. Noticing a major drop in Mormeck’s workrate, Haye upped his own tempo, began planting his feet and hurled sickeningly heavy shots into Mormeck’s head and body. The sounds of Mormeck getting nailed were like those generated from a bass drum. Boom. Boom. Boom.

    A hard left cross, thrown from a momentary southpaw stance, caught Mormeck bang on the chin for the first time in the fight and acted as the beginning of the end for the Frenchman’s reign as champion. Remaining patient, Haye landed further right hooks and left uppercuts, as well as a vicious right hand to the body. He then switched to the other side, and chucked a left hook and a flush right uppercut at Mormeck’s jaw.

    It was the final right uppercut, however, that disconnected Mormeck from both his senses and his WBC and WBA belts. Landing square on his chin, the almighty uppercut forced Mormeck to sway backwards to the ropes in a groggy state. Unsure whether Haye would follow up high or low, Mormeck instinctively dropped his left arm to protect his body. Haye went high and dished out a final, sadistic right hook behind Mormeck’s ear to send the champion crashing to the floor in a heap.

    Motionless for a few seconds and then unaware of his whereabouts, Mormeck eventually rose at the count of eight. Cavalleri gave him every opportunity to continue – including a long count and a question – but Mormeck had no answer. He shook his head – eyes still vacant.

    Perhaps the new WBC and WBA champion was right. Maybe it sometimes is all in the eyes. While Mormeck tried to shake the stars and tweety birds circling his eyes, the only things filling David Haye’s eyes were dollar signs and the sharp reflections from two shiny new belts.

  • 26.04.07

    HAYE VS Bonin

    W TKO 1

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    David Haye vs. Tomasz Bonin

    Cruiserweight contender David Haye sent out a message to the heavyweight division last night (26 April) with a scintillating first-round knockout of Poland's Tomasz Bonin at Wembley Arena. Though outweighed by a natural heavyweight, Haye ended matters in just 105 seconds.

    The result acted as a warning to a division he hoped to one day dominate, but, for now, Haye remains a cruiserweight. Not only that, a cruiserweight on the cusp of challenging for world honours. After all, it was only ever his impatience that moved him to take a non-title heavyweight encounter while waiting for a well-earned shot at WBC and WBA world cruiserweight king Jean-Marc Mormeck later this year.

    Call it marking time, call it keeping busy, Haye wasn't content to dance to the champion's tune, so decided to act upon his urges and trade blows with Bonin, a natural heavyweight, ahead of a tilt at the cruiserweight belts.

    Of course, the gamble could have backfired and Haye could have paid for his aversion to queues. But, thankfully, for the good of his career and, indeed, the cruiserweight division, Haye dusted off Bonin with very little difficulty and remained on track for his shot at glory in the 200lb weight-class.

    In truth, the result was never really in doubt. Sure, Bonin possessed, on paper, a pretty record (37-1) and a reputation for durability, but he'd never before encountered someone as fast or dynamic as Haye. This much was evident just seconds into the contest, when the Englishman dazzled the flat-nosed Pole with a variety of feints, explosive moves and lightning pot-shots from out of his orthodox stance. Bemused, Bonin didn't know whether to duck, run or hide. Alas, he did none of the above and instead sat a prone target for a variety of Haye punches.

    Then came the pay-off. Forty-five seconds into the opening round, 'The Hayemaker' effortlessly glided around the ring, shook out the tension in his arms and then unleashed a devastating one-two combination on the stunned face of his opponent. Such was the force of the attack, Bonin found himself blown halfway across the ring and then down on to the seat of his pants. Right on cue, the crowd erupted, while Haye skipped to a neutral corner.

    Pride forced Bonin to pull himself upright almost immediately – the referee's count had barely reached two – but what was now clear was that the gulf in speed and class was far too much for him to ever catch up. The doleful look on his face suggested he knew this, too.

    Still, he had no choice but to invest in hope at this early juncture. So Bonin trotted forward, first to referee Ian John-Lewis and then into a flurry of additional Haye shots. Chopping punches put him down for a second time, though this was ruled a slip. His third trip to the canvas was certainly no accident, however, as Haye measured him with the jab and then brought over a booming right hand, which dropped Bonin on one knee.

    Again, he rose quickly. He also nodded his head when the referee probed his will to go on. But pride alone wasn't going to win him the fight, and so it proved. His antic-climatic last stand was only greeted by more Haye counter-punches, and more strife and turmoil. This time there would be no respite, either. As he tried to run across the ring and escape, Haye followed him and clubbed him into submission with less than two minutes gone in the fight.

    A cruiserweight by name and reputation, David Haye looked as impressive and powerful as any heavyweight in the world last night. If at all in doubt, ask poor Tomasz Bonin.

  • 17.11.06

    HAYE VS Fragomeni

    W TKO 9

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    David Haye vs. Giacobbe Fragomeni

    Seven years ago David Haye and Giacobbe Fragomeni met in Germany and boxed three rounds to decide who would advance a step closer to the 2000 Olympic Games. Despite dominating much of the action, the British boxer was deemed to have been beaten by a score of 11-1 and was thus eliminated from the final qualifying tournament. His Olympic dream was over.

    Last night at York Hall, Bethnal Green, Haye and Fragomeni reconvened, this time as pros. Up for grabs was a European cruiserweight title, the possession of Haye, as well as a number one ranking with the WBC. Essentially, in place of the Olympics carrot was a shot at the world cruiserweight title. Again, they had it all to fight for.

    Arguably the two premier cruiserweights in Europe right now, Fragomeni was unbeaten in twenty-one bouts, while Haye had rebounded from an early career to loss to Carl Thompson with a stunning run of results, including a 45-second demolition of former European champion Alexander Gurov. Therefore, unlike when they first met as amateurs, the two were now rounded and seasoned, approaching their prime as cruiserweights. Indeed, Fragomeni, 37, had turned pro late and was making up for lost time, following a lengthy and acclaimed amateur career.

    Naturally, though, when the first bell tolled and punches were encouraged, the stocky Italian fought every bit as hard as he may have done in his twenties. He pushed forward behind a high-held guard, enthusiastically bobbed his head from side-to-side and looked to engage with Haye whenever the champion dared stop still for a second. Considerably shorter, both in height and reach, Fragomeni had no option but to get in close and drag his taller foe into a dog fight.

    Haye, on the other hand, was blessed with better physical dimensions, as well as superior speed, so could efficiently dictate the pace and range of the bout in the early going. To do this, he used his legs to keep out of harm's way and then pot-shotted Fragomeni with sharp jabs and right hand leads whenever he tried to ransack his space. And, given that most of these shots, even the jabs, were numbingly powerful, Haye's output made Fragomeni think twice about getting too close in the early rounds.

    Still, bit-by-bit, the Italian edged closer and closer and, as the middle rounds progressed, he extracted confidence from two things. Firstly, he remained upright, despite losing rounds and being pinged with big shots, and, secondly, the pace had dropped, and Haye had noticeably slowed. It seemed perseverance and sheer bloody mindedness was starting to pay off and Fragomeni found an extra spring in his step as he entered the sixth round.

    This spring would become a leap in a matter of seconds, however, as Haye found himself trapped by the ropes and then tagged by a couple of innocuous looking prods through the guard, one of which drew blood. Instantly, the crowd gasped in horror. Fragomeni's eyes lit up. They all saw the same thing; Haye's eye had been sliced open and a non-stop stream of blood flowed down the side of his face. As a result, his movements became sloppy and erratic, spiked by panic, while Fragomeni scurried after him as though it was the last round of the fight.

    In the end, Haye just about did enough to survive. He avoided most of Fragomeni's follow-up punches and safely returned to his stool at the end of the round, albeit breathing heavily and caked in his own blood.

    Sixty seconds later, Haye was off his stool, considerably less bloody, and armed with instructions to move, move and move some more. He needed to stay safe and protect his damaged eye. Fragomeni, of course, had other ideas. He was told to increase the tempo and go after that eye in the hope that a little more damage would bring an end to the contest. Contrasting plans, both now had different ways of going about claiming victory.

    The seventh and eighth rounds should have been gobbled up by a resurgent Fragomeni but, in truth, weren't. In fact, they were evenly contested and, though his corner wanted him to increase the pace of the fight, the flow of the action had now dropped alarmingly. Fragomeni's arms and legs had slowed, he often appeared stuck in the mud, and this indecisiveness allowed Haye to gather his thoughts, fill up fuel and once again take the initiative in the bout. He continued to move and protect his eye, but he was also back to firing hard punches in the direction of Fragomeni, something that only added to the Italian's sudden look of despair.

    The tables again turned completely in the ninth. Haye found his rhythm, while Fragomeni lost his completely. Then, mid-way through the round, this switch proved emphatic, as Haye glided around the perimeter of the ring, cracked his opponent in the ribs and then followed up with a variety of messy but punishing head shots. Right there and then, Fragomeni's resolve ebbed away. He cowered from the initial body shot and was then sent tottering across the ring by aforementioned head punches. Haye sensed the end was near and put it on him, forcing the Italian to collapse to the canvas and take a count. Finally, a breakthrough.

    Fragomeni got to his feet and looked into the eyes of referee Daniel Van de Wiele. They were the solemn eyes of a beaten man. They were eyes that then focused on his cornerman, and former world champion, Patrizio Oliva, who stood by the turnbuckle waving a white flag of surrender. Immediately, Fragomeni's shoulders slumped and his face dropped, a face that was now a strange mix of disappointment and relief. The fight was over, finished. Haye had retained his title and, far more importantly, gained revenge over the man who once upon a time ended his Olympic dream.

  • 21.07.06

    HAYE VS Abdoul

    W UD 12

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    David Haye vs. Ismail Abdoul

    Renowned for his crushing punch-power, European cruiserweight champion David Haye had to rely on his more subtle qualities last night (July 21) in Altrincham, as he diffused the challenge of Belgium’s Ismael Abdoul over 12 rounds.

    Each of the three EBU judges scored the bout 120-108 in Haye’s favour after the completion of the 12 rounds, and the victory marked the first time the Londoner had ever been taken the distance as a professional.

    Yet, while Haye, now 17-1 (16), benefited from getting 12 rounds under his belt before a potential world title shot, the nature of the bout and the effort of Abdoul left a lot to be desired.

    Famed for his durability, cagey style, and impenetrable defence, Abdoul tucked up from the very first round, and, despite sporadic meanderings, refused to emerge from his shell from first bell to last.

    Subsequently, the normally ferocious and exciting Haye was forced to re-think his tactics and pick the watertight Belgian lock in front of him. In the early going Haye used his impressive left jab to keep Abdoul at bay, and to keep foraging for openings.

    However, despite the punch-picking of Haye, and the fact he was losing round upon round, Abdoul still stood firm – reluctant to throw punches and leave himself open to counters. The early rounds would follow a similar pattern. Haye would effectively work jab; Abdoul would cover up. Haye jabs; Abdoul slips into a state of non-punching.

    Occasionally, Abdoul would surprise the agitated crowd at the Altrincham Leisure Centre – he’d attempt a looping left hook. It was the only punch, other than a fairly sound jab, that Abdoul would attempt to throw over the course of 12 rounds. Yet, even then, Haye blocked just about every single one of them thrown. Shockingly, Abdoul only got through with 19 punches throughout the completed 36 minutes.

    This EBU title affair certainly wasn’t the anticipated clash of December ’05 between Haye and Alexander Gurov, or even David’s March dual with a game and ambitious Lasse Johansen. In Manchester last night, Haye was essentially in with a man intent on hearing the final bell – and nothing else.

    Consequently, Haye failed to really shine in front of the Sky Sports cameras. While his jab was snappy and accurate throughout – and some tasty uppercuts and right hands nailed Abdoul during the middle rounds – Haye has looked far more impressive during the course of his three-and-a-half-year career against opponents willing to engage.

    Last night, Haye was safety-first, measured, wholly in control, and workmanlike. The European champion carried no real intention of trying to halt Abdoul – aware of the consequences should he mess up so close to a shot at WBC champion O’Neil Bell.

    Taken for what it was – a 12-round workout – Haye, and trainer Adam Booth, were pleased with the night’s work.

    “I knew as soon as I landed my very first jab that Abdoul had a really hard head,” Haye admitted. “There was absolutely no point in battering away at his head for three minutes each round in the hope of budging him. I’ve got some big fights ahead, and I wasn’t about to badly damage by hands in a fight where I could easily win in first gear. I couldn’t afford to take any chances.”

    Booth added: “I told David before the fight, and during the fight, that he shouldn’t go out there and knock Abdoul out. That would have been the worst thing he could have done. I wanted him to enter that ring, follow a gameplan, and carry it out no matter what happened. He did just that, and as a result I’m more than happy with how the night turned out.”

    With EBU title defence number two successfully secured, Haye can now eye up the men at the top of the world cruiserweight tree – namely, Jamaican number one O’Neil Bell. Haye is, of course, the number one challenger to Bell’s WBC belt, and talks between the two camps will commence on Monday morning with a view to securing the highly-anticipated match.

  • 24.03.06

    HAYE VS Johansen

    W RSF 8

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    David Haye vs. Lasse Johansen

    European cruiserweight king David Haye retained his prestigious title tonight (March 24) in London, as he broke down the courageous Danish challenger Lasse Johansen inside eight rounds.

    The 25-year-old puncher – renowned for his ability to finish fights quickly – had to go beyond five rounds for the first time in his three-year professional career. Yet, with a coveted European belt at stake, and an ambitious, determined individual like Johansen opposing him, Haye expected a tough battle.

    In fact, Haye’s trainer, Adam Booth, even insisted before the fight that Johansen would offer his charge the most competitive fight of his career. Despite a dominant start to the contest, such assertions proved correct.

    Haye opened the scheduled 12-rounder in his typical, sharp-shooting, quick-fisted manner. Possessing blurring handspeed and an ability to counter opponents’ shots in an instant, Haye immediately made his mark on Johansen. A series of sharp left-jabs, and one blinding left-hook gained the Dane’s immediate respect.

    Haye was economical, rather than explosive - yet hurtful nevertheless. The Bermondsey puncher’s first noteworthy success in the opener came via a mammoth right hand he landed over the lazy left lead of Johansen. The Lystrup-born challenger felt the force of the shot and staggered slightly to the ropes. Within seconds, however, Johansen regained his composure and shook off Haye’s attempts to finish the job.

    In taking Haye’s biggest bomb in round one, Johansen displayed a resoluteness that had been lacking from many past Haye opponents.  It was clear, from as early as the first round, that Lasse had his mind set on winning.

    Following the blueprint Carl Thompson structured in September 2004 - when beating Haye in an IBO title affair - Johansen believed it was possible to weather the early Haye pressure, and then overwhelm the Brit the later the fight went. Pre-fight, Johansen had predicted knocking Haye out after six rounds.

    Realising the extent of Johansen’s fortitude, Haye set about picking his shots in rounds two and three. He would fire off tremendous left leads, followed by attempted uppercuts and right hands round the back of Johansen’s high-held guard. Johansen took some hefty blows, but remained steadfast. His guard was sturdy, and he offered little for Haye to target.

    Nevertheless, Haye’s handiwork did bring about some reward in the early going. After succumbing to volley upon volley of shots, Johansen suffered a split left eye that would later require 27 stitches.

    Yet even the sight of blood failed to deter Johansen. In fact, the Danish cruiserweight’s willpower grew further once he suffered the cut. He became more ambitious, and, sensing Haye was edging towards uncharted territory, began taking more chances. Whereas Haye led the early going, in rounds four and five, Johansen began setting the pace.

    The 30-year-old challenger would edge close to Haye behind his tight guard and poke series’ of jabs and straight right hands towards Haye, in an attempt to regain some respect from the champion. Johansen was still taking few chances, but he was intent on proving Haye’s inability to hurt or deter him.

    The fifth and sixth rounds marked seminal moments for Haye. Despite landing the flashier, classier and quicker shots throughout the bout, Haye’s workrate and punch output dropped.  Both Haye’s realisation that Johansen was there for the long haul, and Johansen’s own spirit, caused David to settle down and look at the bigger picture.

    Potentially, the champion who had never been beyond five rounds was staring at a 12-round struggle in the face. It was a make or break situation for the hard-hitting titleholder. 

    Johansen was buoyed by such a scenario. He began catching Haye as the Londoner retreated to the ropes. He managed to put the champion on the defensive. Lasse also began initiating the action. A smile crept across the face of the Dane. There was fist-pumping at the end of the sixth round. 

    Haye, however, wasn’t about to cave in under the renewed hope of Johansen. While Johansen moved into a new gear, Haye went with him. At times, the London talent displayed brilliant defensive manoeuvres, and eye-catching counterpunches.

    The work was now more sporadic from Haye, but the economy – and punches that were delivered – were of the highest calibre. At one moment, in the sixth round, Haye incredibly made Johansen miss with six straight shots with his back to the ropes.  

    Yet there were still some concerned faces amid the star-studded York Hall crowd. Few expected the bout to go beyond six rounds, and many wondered how Haye would cope with adversity post-Carl Thompson.  

    Encouragingly, Haye provided some decisive answers to those questions in the seventh, and, more conclusively, eighth rounds.  In the seventh, Haye began countering with more force and purpose, and was timing the jab and right hand expertly over the double-jab of Johansen.

    Fearing Johansen’s mid-round ambition, Haye snapped into life again. He began pinging back the head of the Dane with jabs, uppercuts and right hands – the way he did so impressively in the opening two rounds. Body shots also began demoralising Johansen. 

    Sensing Haye’s second wind was in full flow, Johansen quickly evaporated in the eighth session. His cut eye had worsened, his nose was bloodied, and a roundhouse right hand from Haye perforated the challenger’s eardrum. Johansen didn’t expect Haye to rally back from his perceived ‘lull’ through the middle rounds. It was a mark of Haye’s improved maturity and mental resolve that he did, therefore. 

    A series of clubbing right hands, and a stunning right uppercut, had Johansen tottering on the verge of defeat. Having been patient, and focused on ‘boxing’ for the last two rounds, Haye – sensing Johansen’s vulnerability – set about sealing the deal.

    He followed Johansen to the neutral corner, where the Londoner unloaded three hard right hands on Johansen as the Dane beckoned referee Guido Cavalleri in to stop the bout. Johansen could no longer see the shots coming. His spirit was, finally, crushed. With 50 seconds remaining in the eighth session, Cavalleri called a halt to the bout.

    Johansen complained about a couple of vicious Haye shots after Cavalleri’s decision, but not about the stoppage itself. The brave Johansen suffered the first defeat in his 15-bout pro career.  

    Haye, meanwhile, received the workout many had felt he’d always needed. In eight rounds the European champion had progressed from knockout artist to genuine fighter. Haye boosted his pro stats to 16-1 (16) in the process.

  • 16.12.05

    HAYE VS Gurov

    W KO 1

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    David Haye vs. Alexander Gurov

    Cruiserweight cranium-cracker David Haye tonight (December 16) iced European champion Alexander Gurov in 45 seconds of the first round, to claim the prestigious EBU belt and cast his name alongside the world’s elite at 200 pounds.

    The fiercely focused 25-year-old started the scheduled 12-rounder a marginal favourite, yet few expected the toxic mix of power-punchers to bring a conclusive result inside merely one minute.

    Many, including the respected Boxing News magazine, realised the threat of Gurov’s own heavy artillery – which had laid to rest 33 of 38 beaten foes – and figured that should the giant Ukrainian weather Haye’s early storm, his 12-year pro experience could enter into the equation.

    Yet, Haye’s blockbuster right cross – a punch that has helped mince all 14 previous defeated opponents before the final bell – wrote off all Gurov’s experience and European knowledge. All of the understanding and know-how Gurov had gained from four stints as EBU champion was erased via an arrow of a right hand.

    Unbeaten in six, since his stoppage defeat to world number one cruiserweight Jean-Marc Mormeck, Gurov appeared to bring both confidence and ambition to the Bracknell Leisure Centre. The distinguished Eastern bloc amateur went eight, gruelling rounds with French hardman Mormeck – outworking and outhustling the Joe Frazier-esque champion along the way – before losing his way under Mormeck’s attack. Gurov, fatigued after setting a rabid pace, was stopped on his feet.

    At world level, Gurov’s credentials were unquestionable.

    The Mariopol-born champion started the first defence of his new reign as EBU king in self-assured fashion. Claiming the centre of the ring, the tall and imposing Gurov forced out his strong right jab in Haye’s direction – aware of what might come back his way.

    Showing improved head movement and an ability to predict the direction of Gurov’s sprinkling of jabs, Haye weighed up the Ukrainian southpaw’s early movements, and worked his way inside the 6’5 puncher’s reach.


    A straight right hand – smothered, as the world-class cruisers got close – banged into Gurov’s solar plexus, and forced the veteran titleholder to take a step back. This created room for the rangy Haye, and, within seconds, the intelligent amateur starlet exposed Gurov’s vulnerability via a left jab and booming right cross.

    The stinging straight right homed in on Gurov’s unguarded jaw and sent the world-rated champion crashing to the deck. His eyes in orbit – like pinballs rolling round a pinball table – Gurov’s senses were scrambled and his belt headed to England. Gurov tried to rise at eight - his legs arguing against him - but was eventually rescued by referee Guido Cavalleri, as he began to realise what country he was in.

    A respected, well-equipped beltholder, Gurov’s record now plummets to 38-5-1 (33) following this shocking setback. Meanwhile, the buoyant Haye rubberstamped the quality of his punch-power on the world stage, and also progressed his quality opposition-packed record to 15-1 (15).

  • 14.10.05

    HAYE VS Rossitto

    W KO 2

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    David Haye vs. Vincenzo Rossitto

    Tonight (October 14) in Huddersfield, rampaging cruiserweight David Haye invaded archrival Mark Hobson’s hometown to devour highly-ranked Italian Vincenzo Rossitto inside two rounds.

    The ambitious 25-year-old, making his first ring outing since blowing away Australian Glen Kelly in March, didn’t put a foot wrong throughout and displayed a poise and composure that had been neglected in some of his early appearances.

    The big-punching Londoner Haye sealed his Italian cuisine at 2:55 of the second session, following a mammoth straight right and follow-up sweeping right hook that sent Rossitto crashing to the mat.

    It was a chilling message directed at domestic rival Mark Hobson – who was pencilled in as the original opponent, only to withdraw due to shingles. Hobson, as well as outspoken trainer Chris Aston, were situated at ringside.

    Despite promises of a hostile reception and bumper pro-Hobson crowd, the greeting Haye received en route to the ring couldn’t have been more vocal and friendly. Roared on by the many young soldiers in the Huddersfield Leisure Centre, as well as Hobson’s own appreciative handful of fans, the talk of strict security appeared laughable.

    It wasn’t long before Haye reduced Rossitto sizeable reputation to a laughable state, either.

    Possessing a respectable 30-3-2 (17) record, and having challenged for the European cruiserweight title twice in his eight-year career, Rossitto entered the bout as Haye’s sternest test outside of IBO king Carl Thompson (the only man to beat Haye).

    Rossitto was over the championship weight (this was a non-title 10-rounder) but was renowned for his durability and craftiness on the European scene.

    Indeed, aside from a cuts loss to European champion Alexander Gurov, Rossitto had only ever been legitimately halted by big-banging Pole Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and Pietro Aurino – both inside 10 rounds.

    Haye bettered those results and in a manner that had many purring about his refined style, improved patience, and punch-perfect variation.

    From the opening seconds of the bout, the alterations were explicit. Showing the kind of measure he used when blitzing former light-heavyweight title challenger Kelly in March, Haye stalked Rossitto round the ring early behind a snappy left lead.

    With hands held slightly higher than normal, Haye sought to bring down the high guard of his Italian opponent with some beautiful jabs and sweetly-picked left hooks round the back of Rossitto’s line of defence.

    Haye operated purely with his left hand for the opening one and a half minutes, before letting his vaunted right hand go via an uppercut and two wicked right hooks to Rossitto’s unguarded rib cage.

    The fleshy Italian, wary of Haye’s firepower, quickly manoeuvred his left arm down to protect his battered body.

    Haye then reverted back to his trusty lead left hand in pursuit of Rossitto, before repeating his double right hand to the body dosage in the final 20 seconds of the round.

    Rossitto tested out a few timid jabs and right hands in the opener but all were impressively slipped or parried by a defence-minded Haye.

    Rossitto’s offensive exploits grew stronger in the second round, as he came forward and tested Haye’s defence with some straight lefts and rights. Unnerved by what the Italian offered, Haye simply tucked his chin towards his shoulder and rode Rossitto’s shots with ease.

    From ringside, Haye’s stablemate Anthony Small could be heard shouting: “Lovely defence, David, lovely defence!”

    At the two-minute mark, Haye began to display more of his weaponry on Vincenzo, as he whipped in a sithing left hook, followed by a right cross down the pipe, which backed Rossitto up momentarily.

    The former EBU title challenger showed a solid defence when going backwards, but was being bit-by-bit diluted by some stinging left jabs rammed into his concerned face.

    With a minute to go, Haye’s normally neglected left hook was brought into action again as he threw it brilliantly round the side of Rossitto’s guard as his wary opponent backed away. From that point on the former Italian heavyweight and cruiserweight champion’s output was non-existent.

    Haye followed Rossitto round the ring, sensing the end, and pot-shotted him with a razor-sharp left-right combination which rattled Rossitto, followed by a right uppercut and left hook which mangled Vincenzo’s once tight defence.

    Yet, despite sensing his man was headed for the exit door, Haye shook his arms, relaxed and banged Rossitto with a further stream of left jabs – intent on settling down once more.

    With 30 seconds remaining, Haye thumped Rossitto with the same one-two combo, and the Sicilian’s shaven head snapped back whilst on the ropes. Once more, Haye relaxed and let Rossitto recover, walk forward, and ultimately stroll into a massive right cross.

    Aimlessly ambling forward, Rossitto moved straight into Haye’s powerful right and was sent flying back into the ropes by a follow-up right hook high on the head.

    Rossitto climbed to his feet, but reeled back to his corner under unsteady legs, and referee Micky Vann waved off the scheduled 10-rounder. Neither Rossitto nor his corner complained at the stoppage.

    Haye took a bow and was greeted with roars of appreciation by a Huddersfield crowd supposedly there to initiate trouble and exert feelings of hatred.

    “It just felt like a job well done tonight,” a satisfied Haye said afterwards.

    “As soon as he touched my chin with his glove during the ref’s instructions I made sure that was going to be the only time he got near me. And it was.

    “Mark Hobson would have got exactly the same treatment. If anything, Hobson offers a lot more (to hit) than Rossitto does.”

    Haye will now get straight back to the daily grind of training, in preparation for his deserved European title stab against Ukrainian champion Gurov in December. The fast-moving Haye jumps to 14-1 (14) with this career-best performance.

  • 12.05.05

    HAYE VS Williams

    W RSF 3

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    David Haye vs. Arthur Williams

    When a finely-tuned professional athlete perfectly executes a gameplan, the results can often be decisive. In Reading last night (May 12), cruiserweight hot-shot David Haye - a man tipped for the stars from the moment he laced up a pair of gloves - progressed to the next chapter of his professional career with a three round bludgeoning of shell-shocked former world champion ‘King’ Arthur Williams.

    In a contest many beforehand believed was risky matchmaking on Haye’s and manager Adam Booth’s part, the Bermondsey puncher banished all pre-fight frets by putting on a punch-perfect exhibition of speed, power and razor-sharp reflexes. It was a monumental step up for Haye, and knowing the threat posed by the 39-year-old Williams, he didn’t disappoint.

    Haye was at his intense best, and knew that he had to be to come out of this taxing contest with his perfect 9-0 record unscathed. The look of concentration and intent on the English champion throughout the bout told its own story. The constant use of the left jab to set up attacks, another tell-tell sign that he was giving Williams the respect his credentials warranted.

    Any man who racks up an IBF title, wins over Dwight Qawi, Adolpho Washington, Imamu Mayfield and narrow defeats to Kelvin Davis, O’Neil Bell and Chris Byrd, commands respect. Make no mistake; Williams was a live opponent, drafted in with the hope of springing an upset.

    Alas, as far as Williams was concerned, there were to be no surprises in this one. Arguably, the only shock conjured up by this contest was the choice of ring attire elected by Haye. Banishing the traditional black shorts, the 23-year-old entered the ring with a pure, white pair. Read into that, as you will. In effect, his form was white hot, too.

    Williams, coming off a points decision loss to Russian prospect Vadim Tokarev, and a guy who has witnessed everything possible the fight game can muster, was expected to stretch Haye and force him into the latter rounds. After the opening round blitzkrieg Haye put on, all hope of that was over.

    ‘King’ Arthur, flabby round the waist but, having fought two weeks previous, clearly in some form of shape, came out expecting a tentative opener from the young protégé in front of him - but got more than he bargained for.

    Haye, who rarely throws a soft shot, came out all guns blazing from the off. He was impressively snapping the ageing head of Williams back-and-forth with regularity.

    Williams was feeling the power of some meaty right hooks from Haye, and had abandoned all hope of pursuing any of his own attacks. He was instantly thrust into survival mode.

    Sensing Williams would falter more from body shots to his loose midriff than head shots to his solid chin, Haye began varying his punch selection. The Londoner would throw left hooks to the body, hooks to the head, followed by long, rasping right hands – all of which bewildered the experienced veteran in front of him.

    Haye promised a fast start, but even he couldn’t expect to get Williams out of there so early. He nearly did, though. Referee Ken Curtis was looking on with intent as Haye pounded away at Williams as he backed him to a neutral corner. Williams wasn’t firing back, and was seemingly befuddled by the quickfire combinations Haye was churning out.

    It was the classic case of youth against experience, and in this case, youth had all the aces.

    In the second round - following a first round teaser from Haye - he reverted back to his calm, calculated boxing. He picked off Williams from range with some impressive looking counter jabs and left hooks.

    Williams was trying, but had no answer to the foot and hand speed of Haye. He’d lumber forward - throwing looping left hooks or right hands – but, with one swift change of angle, Haye would expose Williams’ defensive frailties and nail him with comeback shots.

    The talented young amateur star was having it all his way in the second. He even remarked at the end of the session that he was finding it pretty easy going in there. It appeared that all the labour had been done in the first round, where Haye effectively broke the heart and will of Williams. Now the flashy puncher was simply reaping the rewards.

    After a round of skilful dominance, the big bombs reappeared in the third, as Haye looked to continue the breakdown process on the ageing ex-champ in front of him.

    Bouncing left jabs and solid, stinging right hands off the temple of Williams, Haye was marching forward, looking to back ‘King’ Arthur up and keep him there. He achieved this without too much argument from Williams.

    Shuffling Williams back towards a neutral corner with the jab, Haye then unloaded a volley of heavy shots - ranging from right crosses and left hooks, to a booming uppercut - then a final right hook round Williams’ guard.

    There was no response from Williams and, following one further wild left hook that nearly disconnected Williams’ head from his shoulders, referee Curtis had no option but to wave the contest off.

    With no more than 15 seconds of the round remaining, Haye had halted the durable Williams and scored the win of his fledgling pro career.

    Predictably, given the context of the victory, and the way in which Haye sliced through Williams without retort, critics will try and undermine the stoppage win. However, Williams showed no previous signs of being ‘shot’ or a faded force. Indeed, many actually tipped Williams to conquer Haye based on his recent performances and Haye’s inexperience. Arthur wasn’t ‘shot’, it was merely Haye’s powerful artillery that made him appear that way.

    After the contest, Haye, always upbeat and brimming with confidence, stated that he felt no nerves whatsoever leading up to the bout, but realised the threat in front of him. He labelled Williams the type whom – if he did manage to put a step wrong – would expose him.

    “It actually all went better than we had planned because we expected to go eight rounds,” the charismatic victor proclaimed in his dressing room afterwards.

    “I’m over the moon with the third round victory. I did exactly what I had to do and smoothly executed the gameplan that we sussed out beforehand. I went out there in the first round to blitz him early - let him feel the power and the speed, and stop him from rushing me.”

    Despite the quickness of the victory, Haye, ever the boxing pupil, still leant a lot from his best opponent to date.

    “This was without a doubt my hardest fight so far because I had to be on my toes at all times,” the 6’3 banger explained. “If I had put a foot wrong Williams would have made me pay. I wasn’t going to allow him any opportunity to counter me or expose any mistakes I made.

    “I actually learnt quite a few things from a fight like this. I learnt that once you punch you have to constantly move your head to avoid any possible counters. I also learnt not to stand too close with him and get caught with needless inside shots when I could have just used my speed to pick him off.” 

    With the career-best win over Williams now etched onto his 10-fight unbeaten record, Haye is eagerly pursing a title shot of some description. His ideal championship debut comes in the form of a veteran warrior from Bolton.

    “Now I’m going to look towards a fight with Carl Thompson,” David added. “His ban should be over in a few months, so I’m hoping the fight can easily be made and we can just get it on. I’ve got to be ranked in the top 30 to fight for his title, so I’ll just progress, keeping beating highly-ranked opponents, and then hopefully I’ll get given my chance.”

  • 04.03.05

    HAYE VS Kelly

    W KO 2

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    David Haye vs. Glen Kelly

    In what appeared, on paper, to be David Haye’s most demanding professional assignment outside of IBO kingpin Carl Thompson, the Bermondsey hotshot made short work of former world light-heavyweight title-challenger Glen Kelly last night (March 4) at Rotherham’s Magna Centre.

    Ranked as high as number nine by the WBC, the Sydney-born Kelly simply had no answer to the clinical, power-punching exploits of a zoned-in Haye. He succumbed to a furious right hand finisher in the second round of a scheduled ten.

    The 33-year-old Aborigine conceded height, weight and reach to Haye, but was still expected to - given his extensive experience on the fringes of world-class – threaten to carry the Brit into deep water.

    Beaten only twice previously - against the great Roy Jones Jr. and stiff-hitting countryman Paul Briggs - Kelly entered the ten round, non-title contest, coming off three straight victories rattled off at regional title level, since his move to cruiserweight.

    Taking into account Kelly’s lofty standing with the more respected world governing bodies, his decision to tackle a young gunslinger like Haye was a move that, ultimately, proved costly.

    For Haye - so often scrutinised in light of his self-destruction against Thompson last September - it was another jump to a rung on a ladder that he hopes will eventually culminate in world-title glory.

    Kelly, like ex-Haye foe Arthur Williams, was a known commodity on the world stage, and, despite suffering two stoppage losses, was renowned for only losing to the very best. From merely judging his tentative start to the bout with Haye, it was clear to see he regarded Haye, as a prospect, to be made of similar stuff to that of Jones Jr. and Briggs.

    Occasionally pawing out his left jab, Kelly would circle Haye in the early going. He was content to evade the Londoner’s TNT-spiked bombs, before pursuing his own openings.

    Given what happened in the aforementioned Thompson punch-fest, the common expectancy is for Haye to punch himself out following an early, savage burst of activity. Kelly, realising Haye’s danger from the get-go, looked like a man intent on getting outside of the opening stages before introducing his own weaponry.

    The ever-thinking Haye, though, seems to box with a split-screen of the Thompson disappointment ticking over in his line of vision. When an opening would rear its head against Kelly, the ex-amateur starlet would fire off his ammunition and then get back to hunting and analysing. Whereas against Thompson, one punch would lead to another, and another, before no more could be forced out. There was no stopgap, or respite.

    Spinning away from a lunging Kelly left hook, Haye deflected his own left jab and right hand off the Aussie’s shaven head, which backed him to the ropes. A slick move that resulted in a rueful look from the former light-heavyweight contender.

    The two-fisted assaults Haye would chuck Kelly’s way in the first round were on the whole sporadic, but the effect was emphatic. If Kelly, before the contest, had anticipated Haye possessing power through the early stages, he was now finding out all about it.

    In the final ten seconds of the opening session, Kelly, leaping in with his flailing right cross, was picked off superbly by a Haye left-right counter that dumped the world-ranked OBPF champion on the canvas.

    Floored heavily three times against Jones Jr. in February 2002, the Australian’s heart was never in question. He rose groggily at referee Mickey Vann’s count of seven. Whether Kelly could have differentiated Rotherham from Sydney at that point is questionable.

    Reeling around the ring on his way back to his stool at the round’s end, Kelly was still unsure about his situation. The brave ex-world title challenger could even be seen peering through the ropes whilst on his stool - looking for clarification as to his destination. To believe the bell saved him would be a grave understatement.

    With merely a minute’s interval between rounds, the pre-second round shakedown was never likely to prepare Kelly for Haye’s further onslaughts.

    Encouragingly, though, despite badly hurting Kelly in the previous stanza, Haye cleared the first round experience from his memory, and went about things with the same composed, controlled manner he commenced the opening round with.

    Kelly would pop out the occasional hasty jab, but, having experienced a taste of Haye’s power in the opening three minutes, looked wary of committing to anything substantial. His jab was more of a fending off weapon than a damaging one. Haye, on the other hand, is all about damaging.

    A left-right combination, concluding with a crashing right cross plucked straight out of the Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns textbook, boomed onto the chin of Kelly with a minute gone in round two. The mandatory count from Vann was almost redundant.

    Kelly crumpled to the floor. His trainer Dino Billinghurst threw in the towel, and climbed into the ring to help his wounded charge. Vann reached the count of ten, and waved the one sided affair off.

    The power was just too much. It took effectively four minutes of purposeful, perfectly placed power-punching to devour a respected, world-rated cruiserweight who had completed as many rounds in his previous three fights as Haye had in his whole 13-fight professional career.

    Since his professional curtain raiser against modest journeyman Tony Booth, Haye has forever boasted of possessing “freakish power”. Now, Kelly, having experienced licks off some of the biggest punchers on the world stage, can attest to that view.

    It’s an easy mistake, however, to think that the dosage of power-punches thrust upon Kelly by Haye were of the same variety to those the Londoner riddled Carl Thompson with six months ago in Wembley - to no avail. They weren’t.

    The punches that ruined Kelly weren’t thrown alongside a written note detailing where they were to land. Nothing was rushed, forced, or telegraphed. From Kelly’s point of view, nothing could be prepared.

    Former world welterweight champion Ricardo Mayorga - renowned for his ability to expose his chin and take flush shots without flinching - has said in the past how easy he finds it, because he’s expecting the incoming barrages and can prepare his mind for punishment.

    When Haye goes ‘Hayewire’ on tough, grisled veterans, the same theory applies. As last night proved, however, when nothings forced, the force is felt. Haye advances to 13-1 (13), while Kelly drops to 32-3-1 (17).

  • 21.01.05

    HAYE VS Delaney

    W TKO 3

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    David Haye vs. Garry Delaney

    Cruiserweight power-puncher David Haye passed his first meaningful assignment since last September’s Carl Thompson setback, as he bludgeoned an overweight, yet durable, Garry Delaney to defeat in three rounds of a scheduled six at Brentford’s Fountain Leisure Centre. The victory marked Haye’s 12th as a pro, against that one solitary IBO title reversal.

    Delaney, now 31-10-1 (17 KO’s), entered the contest at a cumbersome 16 stone 5 pounds, having flittered around the light-heavyweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions throughout his 13-year career. Still, he looked to present Bermondsey’s Haye with a stern tool-sharpener before a possible second major title tilt in March.

    European cruiserweight champion Alexander Gurov of Ukraine is seemingly the man of choice, as the go-getting Haye looks to depart his current BBC contract with a resounding bang.

    First though – before any utterances of money-spinning title opportunities can be sounded – Haye had to negotiate his way round the heavy and cagey object West Ham’s Delaney proposed.

    Checking in at 14 stone 10 and a half pounds at Thursday’s weigh in, the quicksilver cruiserweight – campaigning at heavyweight through default rather than choice – set out to banish the demons conjured up on September 10 and showcase his range of skills on a renowned ‘stayer’.

    A more business-like Haye set about work in a less agitated manner, providing answers to the sporadic questions Delaney posed on the front foot.

    The ex-amateur star, noted for his tremendous hand-speed and crunching punch-power, appeared to trade in his gung-ho reputation for a more serene, intelligent fight plan. A tactic that saw him continuously spear Delaney with a raking left jab, and occasional searing straight right hand through the East Ender’s high held guard.

    The confident former English champion even mixed up the pieces of the puzzle by switching to southpaw in an attempt to lower the stiff shield of his knowing opponent. Delaney appeared non-plussed by Haye’s teasers, and was content to merely trudge forward spitting defiance whenever Haye unleashed anything of significance.

    Noteworthy rights and lefts to Delaney’s loose midriff appeared to be the course of the day, as a patient Haye cruised through his early work. It was of stark contrast to the Duracell-powered opening round in the aforementioned Thompson disappointment.

    Perhaps most impressive was Haye’s decision to employ an array of shots that carried differing amounts of TNT, rather than simply detonating the all-out concussive blows he is accustomed to.

    Through rounds one and two Haye would rattle in two and three punch combinations to keep Delaney ‘honest’, rather than trying to dispatch him into a nearby ringside seat. It was a tactic that prevented the come-forward ex-Commonwealth champion from getting off with any of his own shots, as well as maintaining a vital stranglehold on the pace of the bout.

    Strutting into the final minute of round three, Haye had almost lured the wearisome Delaney into a false sense of security. Having done so, Haye then surprised the defiant 34-year-old with a corking straight right hand that sent Delaney crashing to the deck.

    Momentarily it appeared Delaney had had enough following the heavy knockdown. Yet, courageously he rose to his feet at referee Ken Curtis’ count of seven.

    Haye exploded into a crescendo of body and head punches upon the restart, in an attempt to bring about a stoppage. A groggy Delaney successfully weathered the storm and saw out the final thirty seconds of the round.

    Haye, learning from past mishaps, delivered his goods and then, upon realising Delaney’s toughness, set about the calm pace he had set throughout the previous two rounds, behind his left lead.

    Unfortunately for the maturing Haye, now 12-1 (12 KO’s), this was as long as the contest would transpire. Following a troublesome third stanza, Delaney pulled himself out of the fight on his stool between rounds three and four. Referee Curtis accepted the withdrawal, and a 12th stoppage victory was notched onto the impressive ledger of the London-born Haye.

    Ideally, Haye would have benefited from further rounds. Yet little scorn can be poured upon the three rounds that he did box. Against what was presented in front of him, the IBO title challenger produced a back-foot, punch-perfect display of the ‘good stuff’ this talented cruiserweight can deliver when his mind’s on it.

  • 10.12.04

    HAYE VS Semishkur

    W KO 1

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    David Haye vs. Valery Semishkur

    Cruiserweight prospect David Haye - on the comeback trail following an IBO title defeat to Carl Thompson - realised his concussive power and swagger were still in tact last night (December 10), as he blew away modest Belarusian Valery Semishkur in merely ninety seconds of a slated six-rounder in Sheffield.

    Haye, seemingly looking to just show his face, and collect a purse before December’s festivities, showed that his confidence remained despite the Thompson setback. He also displayed patience – albeit only over a one minute segment – that was notably lacking in the aforementioned IBO title rumble.

    Hands uncharacteristically held high, Haye set about his overmatched Eastern European opponent from the off, measuring him up with a series of thudding left jabs which pinged back the head of the upright heavyweight (Semishkur scaled 217 lbs – some 14 lbs more than Haye) and set him up for a single right hand, that would subsequently put him on his back.

    A left-right combination to the temple saw Semishkur stumble backwards to the floor, and receive an eight count from referee Phil Edwards. Semishkur rose groggily, but was clearly out of his depth.

    The 24-year-old Haye, in no rush to end proceedings, simply got back to his left hand lead – flicking it into the face of Semishkur – before testing the Belarusian’s midriff with a couple of left hooks underneath.

    It was loose-looking, it was ready made, and, following the second of two body left hooks, it was in immense pain. Semishkur crumpled to the floor following a picture-perfect body shot, and remained there, writhing in agony, as referee Edwards hovered over him counting to ten.

    The bout was waved off officially at 1:36 of the very first round, and marked Haye’s 11th professional victory to only one defeat.

  • 10.09.04

    HAYE VS Thompson

    L RSF 5

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    David Haye vs. Carl Thompson

    Despite an explosive and highly charged start, IBO cruiserweight title challenger David Haye failed in his bid to clasp veteran champion Carl Thompson’s belt last night (September 10) at London’s famed Wembley Arena. After five rounds of seesaw action, the gutsy Londoner was halted at 2:53 of the fifth session.

    The 23-yearold prospect - competing in merely his 11th professional fight - was aware of the hazards that would entail by accepting a rumble with Thompson and, after a promising first couple of rounds, those dangers soon hit home.

    The self proclaimed ‘CAT’ - a competitor in no less than nine world title fights - simply had far too much experience for a youngster still in the developmental stage of his professional tuition.

    The opening round, however, told a completely different story to the eventual outcome. Haye, renowned for his fast starts and feverish approach to contests, set about Thompson from the off and piled on the pressure with a series of menacing looking right and left uppercuts and long right crosses.

    The 39-year-old champion - who miraculously grasped his title from the jaws of defeat against Sebastian Rothmann in February - looked out on his feet on numerous occasions, but remained upright and pitching heavy shots of his own. Carl had seen it all before. He’d experienced the trials and tribulations of world championship boxing, and knew how it felt to be dragged unwillingly into the deep waters, only to courageously fight back.

    Haye, now 10-1 (10 KO’s), by contrast, despite a glory lavished and extensive amateur career, didn’t have the same professional catalogue to draw upon when the threat of drowning emerged.

    After a hyperactive first session that saw him chuck an ill-advised 123 power-shots in the direction of a shell-shocked Thompson, the touted prospect began to face up to the severity of the challenge in front of him. Thompson, despite rocking around on the canvas like it was a deflating bouncy castle, knew he had the inexperienced challenger in his zone. He was prepared to see out the dangerous early stages to gain control.

    A huge right cross in the second round, which rocked Thompson to his boots and sent him sprawling to the ropes, was another example of the success Haye received in the opening sessions. Thompson was hanging in there - and throwing the occasional wayward right hand – but, on the whole, the ambitious challenger was the one making major inroads.

    Left hooks and right hooks to the body were homing in under the high-held guard of Thompson and, for all his heart and bravery, it looked as if on numerous occasions referee Terry O’Connor was on the verge of stopping the one-sided contest.

    For the interests of the evergreen Thompson, now 33-6 (25 KO’s), thankfully he didn’t. Like the IBO kingpin said at the pre-fight press conference: “I’ve been doing this sort of shit all my career”. This gripping five round blast-out was merely an extension of his awe-inspiring back catalogue of classic wars.

    The battle of big hitters was titled ‘Don’t Blink’, but had unfolded in a way that few could have predicted. It was far more strategic than most believed it would be, and it featured two combatants that, though floored in previous bouts, were showing a commendable ability to soak up punishment and come firing back.

    Thompson has symbolised this form of work ethic throughout his 16-year career, and set about prolonging his glowing reputation in the fourth round. Bit-by-bit the wily two-times WBO champion shuffled his way back into the fight following a torrid start.

    Haye’s workrate began to drop. His foot movements became more forced, and his normally ferocious combinations lacked ‘pop’ and purpose. The normally decisive, no nonsense puncher was beginning to try and fiddle his way through the rounds, whilst standing directly in front of a famed, concussive puncher. Perhaps not a good idea - but to the challenger’s credit - at times, defensively, he looked adept at carrying out these risky tactics.

    Staring directly at the marauding champion, Haye would occasionally parry or block incoming assaults with his shoulder, and then get off with his own jabs and straight rights. The problem? The counter shots from Haye were no longer continuous and, decisively, were no longer hurting Thompson and putting him into his wobbly shell. The revived titlist just kept roaring forward, undeterred.

    Thompson came on strong in the fifth round, spurred on by Ensley Bingham’s shout of ‘this is your fight now Carl’.

    The shrewd champion recognised Haye’s predicament, and set about baptising the young upstart into the fifth round (a round Haye had never seen before in his short pro career) in his own distinct style.

    Hustling his way forward, Thompson backed Haye up and unleashed a series of jabs and right hands that began to unsettle the challenger. Haye’s chin passed the test - as time and time again big shots bounced off his jaw, bringing very little reaction - but what did take it’s toll was the ex-amateur star’s lack of mobility and sharpness.

    A cuffing right hand shot from Thompson caught Haye momentarily off balance and sent him to the floor for the second time in the 11-fight novice’s fleeting career. Haye had his senses about him, and didn’t appear hurt by the shot, but, nonetheless, just didn’t appear to have the stimulation to get back into the fight and forge some purposeful attacks of his own.

    Thompson again sensed Haye’s troubles, and, as the Bermondsey-born fighter rose to his feet, set about sealing events.

    Some big left hooks and right crosses found the chin of Haye, but one massive right hand in particular had the desired effect from Thompson’s point of view. A right, set up by a left jab, sent a shaky Haye back into a neutral corner where the ballsy challenger, sensing he was hurt, merely beckoned Thompson in for more.

    Thankfully, a compassionate corner decision by trainer Adam Booth prevented Haye from receiving any further inevitable punishment – and the exciting bout was stopped at 2.53 of the fifth round.

    The decision to tackle such an accomplished and battle-hardened champion, having only briefly dipped his feet in professional waters, was a risky one on Haye’s part. Ultimately, the gamble didn’t pay off.

    However, the learning curve that the talented cruiserweight has travelled along is invaluable experience for future tough, similarly gruelling contests. He now knows what its like to be hit and hurt in a professional fight. He now knows how it feels to fight hard, three-minute rounds, and trade with a prominent puncher. Perhaps most pivotal of all, he now knows how it feels to lose - and to the amiable Londoner’s credit – graciously.

    Too much emphasis is placed on clean, pure unbeaten records nowadays. Perhaps ironically even, when considering the fact that invariably all great fighters lose at some point.

    For the go-getting Haye, the time is now to show that an early setback will ultimately prove the making of him. For the remarkable champion Thompson, the surreal boxing story that is his 39-fight pro career, simply and unbelievably, lives on and backs his claims that age is purely a number. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • 20.03.04

    HAYE VS Rasani

    W TKO 1

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    David Haye vs. Hastings Rasani

    Bermondsey cruiserweight prospect David Haye barely broke sweat on Saturday night (March 20) as he bombed out the overmatched Hastings Rasani in just over two minutes of the first round at London’s Wembley Arena.  

    The 23-year-old Haye – earmarked by many as a future star of the cruiserweight talent pool - was having his first fight since his English title triumph last November.  

    While it is accepted the hard-hitting talent needs to stay active, and had to fulfil this March slot to keep ticking over, Hastings Rasani didn’t offer much in the way of either resistance or threat. A late replacement - who was only drafted in after a heavyweight opponent pulled out of the Saturday date - Rasani just never looked like getting started against Haye.

    If ever there was a template for a fighter who looked as though he wanted be anywhere but in a ring, it was Rasani’s confused expression on Saturday night. Haye - loose limbed and with dynamite in either fist - measured his African-born opponent up with the left jab before homing in some sharp and hurtful right crosses.

    Rasani was hurt by every punch, and the ending was a mere formality.  Rasani began getting broken down by some powerful right hands and, though brave to take the fight at short notice, didn’t appear to carry any hope of extending Haye beyond the opener.

    Full of evil intent, and with a frustrated glint in his eye, Haye possessed far too much firepower for Rasani. The English titleholder managed to floor Rasani with a blow that didn’t even appear to land at one stage. A sign of both Haye’s respected speed and power, and also Rasani’s fragility.  

    Referee Billy Aird waved proceedings to an end as Haye backed Rasani to the ropes – working both fists on the luckless journeyman – and Hastings crumpled to the deck.

    Aird, like everyone else, had already seen enough. With the first round victory Haye continues to run smoothly towards domestic honours. However, everyone - most importantly Haye and manager/trainer Adam Booth - know that sterner tests must be sought.  

    Refreshingly, this public workout with Rasani is supposedly the first contest in a busy and taxing period looming for Haye.  Looking beyond Rasani, Haye and Booth’s intentions are clear and make sense. Void of suitable British opponents willing to face him, Haye is planning to scour the IBO’s top 35 cruiserweights in the world, in the hope of drafting in renowned opponents to offer him a test. The ideal end result? A money-spinning and highly-anticipated IBO title fight with Carl Thompson.

  • 11.11.03

    HAYE VS Dowling

    W TKO 1

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    David Haye vs. Tony Dowling

    Tonight (November 14) at a swelteringly hot York Hall, Bethnal Green, Bermondsey cruiserweight prospect David Haye, 8-0 (8 KO’s), was in the fire-breathing mood we come to expect, as he demolished Tony Dowling, 10-6 (3 KO’s), in one round to grab the newly-formed English cruiserweight title.

    Original opponent, Southern Area titleholder Gary Delaney, pulled out of his proposed clash with Haye this week with an unfortunate bout of shingles. So in stepped Lincoln’s Dowling - coming off a career best win on points over Denzil Browne - in an English title match scheduled for 10-rounds.

    In truth, the Dowling match-up looked a tougher one than it materialised as. Tall, rangy and with experience at domestic level, it was expected Dowling would be able to at least take the rapid-moving Haye a few rounds in his quick-fire march to more titles.

    This expectation proved ill-informed, however, as Haye, looking mean and menacing upon entrance - like an animal waiting to be given his daily - jumped on the shell-shocked Dowling from the off.

    Dowling, with chin held high in the clouds, and his gloves either side of his face, was just asking to be teed off on with the jab and right hand over the top.

    Haye was in a focused, intense mood, and duly obliged Dowling’s generous invitation. He used the jab - seemingly left in the locker room against Lolenga Mock last time out - to set up a stinging overhand right, which followed in devastating fashion.

    Dowling, a man who had been stopped in each of his five defeats, looked to be heading to his sixth inside, as Haye quickly dumped him on the canvas with a hard straight right and chopping left hook on his way down. Dowling rose courageously at eight, but was woefully out of his depth, and Haye sprung on him like a man possessed.

    It wasn’t long before Dowling was once again acquainted with the ring floor, as Haye landed a crashing overhand right - set up brilliantly by his ramrod jab - onto the chin of the Lincoln cruiser.

    The fight could have been stopped there and then. Dowling, on the floor twice in a matter of seconds, realised he had no neutraliser for the wicked Haye attacks, and knew that the late notice job he had been giving by promoters SEM was now a lost cause.

    However, unlike so many other late-notice replacements, Dowling didn’t just sit out the count and pick up his paycheck. He kept getting up and coming back at Haye.

    He rose at eight after the second knockdown, and Haye rushed him once again. A jarring jab from the Londoner pinged back the confused head of Dowling, and a rapid-fire right was being cocked, as time and time again the jab would set up that shot.

    One final assault did it for referee Dave Parris, as Dowling again slumped towards the floor. Parris had seen enough. The lightning fast attacks of Haye were distressing not only the gutsy Dowling, but also for the referee, who had a job to do, and did it compassionately.

    Halted at 1:35 of the opener, Dowling felt the wrath of a man looking to prove a point or two.

    Now established as the inaugural English titlist, Haye looks to be over his complacent showing against the unheralded Mock. With power, speed, and a natural finishing instinct, Haye, in blowing away Dowling, looked more like the potential superstar he’s been touted as since his pro induction.

  • 26.09.03

    HAYE VS Mock

    W TKO 4

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    David Haye vs. Lolenga Mock

    Former World Amateur silver medallist and current cruiserweight prospect David Haye, 8-0 (8 KO’s), received a harsh reality check last night (September 26) at the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Reading as he waged an up and down four-round war with cagey African light-heavyweight Lolenga Mock.

    The 22-year-old Haye - perceived to be one of the best prospects in world boxing today – had to drag himself up from the canvas in a dramatic second round, before dispatching his buoyant opponent in the fourth with a hellacious right uppercut.

    The extent of the excitement, and the course the battle took, wasn’t in the Haye script, however. After all, in combining an extensive amateur background, with fast hands, explosive power and a GQ look and personality, Haye is one of the standout prospects in Great Britain. For a man with such promise, the performance must be ranked in context.

    Mock, a 31-year-old Congo-born fighter based out in Denmark began the evening as something of an unknown quantity. He’d never been stopped previously, and was seen as an ultra-durable, more than adequate test for Haye. A monumental step up from Haye’s last opponent Greg Scott Briggs, at least.

    Yet, a closer look at Mock’s honest 21-6-1 (5 KO’s) resume tells us some very interesting facts about the well-schooled African. Firstly, as a natural campaigner between 168 and 175 lbs, Mock carried a significant weight disadvantage against the big-punching Haye. David, lest we forget, was a whirlwind force as a heavyweight in the unpaid ranks. Mock also – despite his noted durability – had failed to win a contest since 1999, so was expected to be void of ambition, especially at short notice.

    Such pre-fight assertions were ill-founded, however, as Mock proved a lot more ‘live’ and a lot more dangerous than many anticipated. Haye included.

    Nevertheless, David began the scheduled six-rounder with only winning on his mind. He also set out with every intention to become the first man to halt Mock inside schedule.

    This was clearly evident as Haye – traditionally a fast starter – set about Mock from the off. He flung a series of piercing left jabs into the face of Mock, hoping to coax down the Congolese fighter’s high-held guard. Mock, for his part, wanted to eye up the talented Londoner to begin with, and committed to very little.

    Haye - with what looked like Hampton Court’s maze scribbled into his black locks - showed his superior power and timing midway through the round, as he picked out a sweeping right hand that decked Mock. The punch didn’t land flush, and Mock wasn’t evidently hurt, but it was a knockdown nonetheless, and an example of the devastating power that Haye possesses in either fist.

    Many at ringside were wondering just how much longer Haye would decide to toy with Mock, as he stood off, picked his shots, and hurt Mock on numerous occasions after the knockdown. Mock had felt Haye’s power early, and was giving him the respect it warranted.

    Before commencing the second round, Mock’s trainers must have traded water for Weetabix in the 60 seconds interval because, as the second began, Mock was a different fighter. No longer feebly feeling out the ropes of the Reading ring, Mock was now taking the fight to Haye. The rough and ready African was putting a lot more emphasis on his own overhand right, which was beginning to gain success over the low left hand of Haye.

    In fact ‘low’ is probably an understatement. Haye resembles an arthritis patient walking a jelly baby to school with his style. His left hand drooping invitingly low, as Mock time and time again would eye up the possible overhand right option.

    Haye was still in control for the majority of the second round, though, as he shot out ferocious long shots from his snake charmer-like stance.

    Then, amid such security, Haye was suddenly looking up at Mock from the floor of the Reading ring. The crowd stunned into silence.

    Mock, sensing his overhand right was a key weapon, ran forward and threw it blindly at Haye, catching the touted prospect on the temple. Haye went down heavily and was in a bad way. Courageously, he rose to his feet and prepared himself for the onslaught he would face at the fists of Mock.

    Predictably, Mock came storming in - pushing, pulling, and punching Haye, trying to get him out of there. Legs unsteady, Haye managed to grab and body-slam Mock to the floor during one hectic exchange. A sign of Haye’s pro maturity, perhaps.

    Haye saw out the round – and the first crisis of his fledgling career. The bell couldn’t have come at a better time for the relieved South Londoner.

    The third session was greeted with shouts of excitement and anxiety from the Reading crowd, who still could not believe what had unfolded in front of them. Haye was still on shaky legs, but was now more conservative and cautious – aware of what Mock could do should he suffer another lapse. He still raked Mock with hard lefts and rights from a distance, but was aware of getting close.

    Haye bossed the majority of the third round, and appeared to have regained some composure after the shock of the second session. He smiled, and appeared happier in the corner, listening to trainer Adam Booth’s instructions.

    David looked to continue the fourth round with similar restrain – sticking behind his sound fundamentals and out of harm’s way – but was once again drawn into a street-fight by his ravenous opponent.

    Mock launched some wild-looking right hands – some missing, some landing – and Haye was instantly put into a state of disarray. Mock sensed Haye’s unsettled state, and attempted to get his man out of there.

    Mock bullied and backed Haye to the ropes. All the time Haye was not firing something back, Mock grew in confidence.

    Lolenga managed to get Haye moving backwards in the fourth with a series of wayward right hands but, when going in for the kill, tasted a monstrous Haye right-uppercut that slammed into his solid jaw. Mock went down in a heap, with Haye relieved, and the Reading crowd jubilant.

    The game Mock was quickly up, looking alert, and in a state to continue. Amazingly, however, referee Mark Green called a halt to the contest. Mock, apparently, unable to carry on.

    The honest Haye even admitted in the post-fight interview that he felt Mock was able to resume the battle. An unpopular decision, Green was roundly booed by the Reading crowd at the bout’s premature conclusion. Mock, meanwhile, was loudly applauded.

    The Congolese cannon-ball – originally overlooked, despite a decent career record – provided David Haye with not only rounds, but also a grave reminder that there’s a long way to go before fulfilling any kind of championship aspirations. For the first time in his glittering pro career, Haye knew he’d been in a fight.

  • 01.08.03

    HAYE VS Scott-Briggs

    W KO 1

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    David Haye vs. Gregg Scott-Briggs

    Chesterfield’s Gregg Scott-Briggs realised what all the fuss was about this evening (August 1st) at Bethnal Green’s famed York Hall, as he met, and collapsed at the fists of, the much-hyped Londoner David Haye.

    The journeyman pro, originally from Swaziland, was supposed to provide the rapid-moving Haye with some rounds before he progressed to championship class. Yet, even a man with the nouse and experience of Scott-Briggs failed to prevent Haye’s continuing streak of early knockout wins.

    The speedy Bermondsey cruiser raced out the blocks, intent on showing his crafty opponent no respect. He flung out some sturdy left jabs and right hands that were instantly disturbing Scott-Briggs.

    Haye sensed he was in with a man who didn’t fancy his chances. Scott-Briggs had a bewildered look on his face as he ate jab after jab.

    With 90 seconds of the bout passed, Haye connected with a quick right hand that caught Scott-Briggs high on the head and forced him to the canvas. Gregg was up quickly, but was taking in deep breaths and looked overwhelmed by the occasion, the opponent, and the right hands that were zoning in on his chin.

    The pair reunited at centre ring and Haye continued to hit the mark with his sharp right hands. One looping right connected on the button, and forced Scott-Briggs to hold desperately.

    Haye then followed up with a flurry of right hands to the body, and Scott-Briggs sagged to the ground for the second time. Larry O’Connor counted to eight and Briggs remained on one knee. O’Connor quickly waved the one-sided affair off – like everyone else, he’d already seen enough.

    Haye jumps to 6-0 (6) with the win, and signalled his eagerness to reach championship level in the BBC’s post-fight interview.

    “We chose this guy (Scott-Briggs) because he’s usually durable and takes a pretty good shot - but I punch quite hard as you can see,” he quipped with a smile. “I’m now looking to get a Southern Area title fight before the end of the year, and will just continue to step up the level of competition.”

  • 15.07.03

    HAYE VS Winn

    W KO 1

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    David Haye vs. Vance Winn

    London cruiserweight David Haye set off on his second United States excursion last week, and arrived home with the same sense of unfulfilment he felt first time round.

    His opponent this time, the deplorable Vance Winn, went the same way as his Miami foe Roger Bowden – counted out and humiliated within the first round.

    His second trip to the States saw the talented Haye strut his stuff at Beverly Hills’ Playboy Mansion. A venue fit for a character like Haye. His personable qualities, good looks, and extrovert attitude would have gone down a storm. Far more than his boxing skills did, that’s for sure.

    After all, Haye was only active inside the Playboy Mansion’s ring for 54 seconds. That was all it took for the ex-amateur star to banish the mediocre Winn.

    Surprisingly, Winn actually entered the bout coming off a win. He beat Brian Durham inside one round a month previous, and was freely goading Haye before the fight. He claimed Haye would fall the same way as his last opponent, and appeared confident and bullish ahead of their scheduled six-rounder.

    Such bravado was exposed as being non-existent once the pair got into the ring, however. Haye entered the outdoors fight location without a mark on his face, and after one minute’s worth of action, he left in the same way, too.

    Winn was set up by a steady supply of pinging jabs, and instantly knew Haye was out of his league. Sluggish and slow of hand and foot, Winn was eating every punch Haye flung in his direction. 

    Naturally, Haye – full of confidence and realising he had very little in front of him – started to enjoy himself.

    The charismatic Brit pulled off a Sugar Ray Leonard-style bolo uppercut, and then followed his showman’s cameo by cocking his right hand – in a shotgun reload fashion commonly performed by Roy Jones, Jr. – before nailing Winn with both punches.

    The uppercut started the attack, a left hook furthered it, and the right cross finished it. Winn staggered to the floor, and took the eight count on one knee.

    The referee picked up the mandatory count and asked Winn whether he wanted to continue. Unable to comprehend Winn’s disorientated state, the referee then asked the ringside doctor if he could understand the American’s mumblings. Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t fathom what Winn wanted either. As a result, the bout was waved off and Haye successfully notched his fifth win of his pro career.

    As with Roger Bowden in Miami Beach, however, David exerted more energy and focus in the ring-walk than he did in the actual fight. In this case, at Hugh Hefner’s pad, it’s fair to say Haye exerted himself more in the post-fight celebrations than he actually did in the cause for rejoicing.

  • 18.03.03

    HAYE VS Day

    W TKO 2

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    David Haye vs. Phil Day

    Bermondsey cruiserweight David Haye continued his rise through the professional ranks, tonight (March 18) in Reading, as he blitzed solid domestic trialhorse Phil Day inside two rounds.

    The former amateur star – whose last ring outing was overseas in Miami Beach – expected rounds against the normally durable Day, but quickly realised his combination of speed and power was too much for the survivor from Swindon.

    In his 8-6-1 pro career slate, Day held a good-looking win over Lincoln’s Lee Swaby, but Haye proved he was a cut above the likes of Swaby by having his way with Day from the off.

    Nevertheless, Day did start the scheduled four-rounder with some ambition. He was coming off a win over Jason Brewster and began with confidence. He regularly jumped in behind his left jab, and held or smothered Haye whenever in close. He wasn’t intimidated early, as other recent Haye foes had been.

    Day was, however, being picked off mercilessly by Haye the closer he got. Haye’s jabs were faster and sharper, and, once Day started marauding forward, his face was acquainted with some snappy jabs and right hands.

    With 30 seconds remaining in the opening round, Haye buzzed Day with some fast right hands that landed behind the Daventry pro’s high-held guard. Day now had a rueful look on his face – any ambition he had beforehand was being bit-by-bit punched out of him.

    The 22-year-old Haye made his first impression on Day in the second round, as he cleverly read a Day attack, stepped back, and landed a glancing right uppercut that momentarily scrambled Day’s senses. Day took a knee and was up at the count of seven.

    He tried to bravely rally back, but Haye continued to pepper him with lightening quick jabs and crosses. It was no surprise when the end eventually arrived.

    Haye stepped into an attack – threw a couple of hard right hands Day’s way – and the honest pro took another knee. Referee Jeff Hinds decided enough was enough and waved the contest off at 2:09 of the second round.

    Haye, in stopping a man rarely halted, advances to 4-0 (4) and looks one to keep an eye on.

  • 04.03.03

    HAYE VS Bowden

    W TKO 1

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    David Haye vs. Roger Bowden

    British cruiserweight hope David Haye ventured across the Atlantic last night (March 4) to engage in his third professional bout, and probably wished he’d stayed at home.

    The gifted 6’3 banger was paired with the hapless Cincinnati-native Roger Bowden, and learnt next to nothing in disposing of the American club-fighter inside the opening two minutes of the bout.

    A disillusioned Haye couldn’t believe the performance of his overmatched opponent, as Bowden all but gave up whilst taking very little. It appeared Haye’s appearance and threat was damaging enough for Bowden.

    The Bermondsey talent keenly pursued Bowden during the opening stages of the bout – firing out long left jabs and fast right hands – but rarely did enough damage to warrant Bowden’s terrified state. Whenever he cut off the ring on the moving Bowden, Haye would rip body shots into Roger’s mid-section, but was still clearly in first gear.

    Haye – in starting slowly and working behind his jab – seemed prepared for a decent test over a decent sized distance. What he got, however, was an opponent simply looking for a way out.

    Twice Bowden hit the deck within the first two minutes of the bout, without going near a Haye punch. The embarrassed Londoner looked perplexed both times. It appeared the referee was closer to Bowden than Haye was at the time of the Ohio fighter’s demise.

    Haye did manage to provide Bowden with a reason to fall down as soon as he stepped on the gas - realising it was best to end the charade before it went too far.

    David put together a series of straight right hands that drove Bowden to the ropes, and then plunged a sickening right hook into the American’s body that forced Bowden to the floor. Roger rose at eight, blinking rapidly and looking disinterested, and then walked into a barrage of Haye blows.

    David wound up a series of right hands – ala Sugar Ray Leonard – but it was the only classy moment in a forgettable bout.

    Bowden then proceeded to try and rugby tackle Haye to the ropes, and was awarded with a point deduction.

    While the referee James Warring issued his penalty, Bowden retreated to his corner and stayed there. He’d decided he’d had enough. Haye wish he’d never started. The hot cruiserweight talent moves to 3-0 (3), and has experienced harder sparring sessions.

  • 24.01.03

    HAYE VS Zairi

    W RSF 4

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    David Haye vs. Saber Zairi

    Cruiserweight puncher David Haye tonight (January 24) met a man able to tame his ferocious power, yet still came away with a fourth round stoppage victory over hard-headed Frenchman Saber Zairi, at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena.

    The talented ex-amateur star pelted Zairi with every shot in his broad repertoire for four massively one-sided rounds, before referee Mickey Vann called a halt to the contest with merely seconds remaining. Zairi, nose bloodied and face a mess, complained uncontrollably at the bout’s conclusion.

    The stoppage did, however, look just about right. Haye, after all, had riddled Saber with a steady stream of jabs and right hands throughout the three completed sessions. He had also dropped Zairi to culminate the third. A picture-perfect left hook, followed by a devastating right hand, sent Zairi reeling back into the ring post.

    Though Zairi was defiant until the end, and showed a chin able to withstand Haye’s heavier shots, the damage was there for all to see. Zairi was lacerated with a nasty looking cut in the second round, and both eyes were also massively compressed because of swelling.

    If Haye was unable to dramatically blast away Zairi early doors – as he had been accustomed to during his glittering amateur career – he left a serious impression on Zairi’s face and body.

    In the decisive fourth round, Zairi was nailed with a flurry of long right hands, and uppercuts inside, and began to look unsteady on his legs. He was game enough – and was still attempting to throw leather in the final session – but Vann could see Zairi was taking too much.

    Despite there only being seconds remaining in the bout, Vann rescued a standing Zairi, preventing him from further punishment. The Frenchman, now 3-2 (0), looked disgusted at the decision, while Haye, who moves to 2-0 (2), was pleased to get four decent rounds out of the previously unknown European.

  • 08.12.02

    HAYE VS Booth

    W TKO 2

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    David Haye vs. Tony Booth

    Professional newcomer David Haye this afternoon (December 8) commenced his vest and headguard-less paid career in dazzling fashion, as he bludgeoned Hull trialhorse Tony Booth in two rounds at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.

    The bout was slated for four rounds, at cruiserweight. The highly-accomplished amateur standout kicked off his pro debut in front of the BBC cameras and an expectant East London crowd.

    Yet little seemed to faze Haye as he tore into a shell-shocked Booth from the opening bell.  Booth – despite having once beaten two-time world title challenger Omar Sheika, and boxed men like WBO cruiser king Johnny Nelson – was taken aback by both the hand-speed and poise of the London talent. The 32-year-old veteran was speared early by rapid left jabs and right crosses from Haye, as the ex-amateur starlet looked to assert himself in the pro ranks.

    High guard and in a defensive shell, Booth attempted to weather the explosive Haye storm, but was struggling to adapt to David’s sharpness. Body shots underneath Booth’s high-held guard were the course of the day for Haye, as he dropped Tony twice in the opening round. The eager to please prospect backed Booth up, and drilled him with body blows and head volleys, which eventually forced Booth to take an exhausted knee. 

    The gutsy Booth came out with more ambition in the second round – determined to give it one last go – but, despite throwing more and threatening more, Haye soon extinguished any remaining hope Booth had with some flashy combinations.

    The 22-year-old decked Booth once more in the second round, and threatened to stop him numerous times with heavy-looking right hands. Booth managed to see out the second stanza, despite being marked up and visibly shaken, but was pulled out of the four-round contest due to a damaged rib, and damaged pride.

    He called it a day whilst sitting on his stool in between rounds two and three. Though a renowned journeyman on the British scene, Booth is rarely blown away and halted inside the distance. The ex-World Amateur Championships silver medallist Haye, in doing just that, certainly looks one to watch.


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