David Haye has confirmed the worst-kept secret in boxing – he will be back in the ring on June 29 against an opponent to be named in the next couple of weeks.
There was one surprise at Thursday’s press conference in Lambeth, south London, with the former WBA heavyweight titleholder revealing his first bout in 11 months will be staged at the Manchester Arena and not at a venue in the English capital. It will also be the first of two fights in 2013 for the Londoner.
Aside from that note, however, it was all pretty much as expected. Haye, THE RING’s No. 3-ranked heavyweight, insists he remains hell-bent on dethroning the dominant Klitschko brothers at the top of the division.
But because neither Ukrainian is willing to face him immediately, the 32-year-old former cruiserweight champ has decided to get much busier and take the mandatory road, knocking off contenders until it is impossible for Wladimir, THE RING, IBF, WBA and IBO champion, or WBC titleholder Vitali to sidestep his advances any longer.
At least that’s the plan – and a significant change in one for Haye, who had long insisted that only a title shot against a Klitschko could drag him out of retirement for a second time.
“My motivation is to put myself in a position where the Klitschko bothers can’t go down different routes,” said Haye. “And that’s to put myself in a mandatory position to win that belt, get that strap back around my waist and be a world champion again.
“I am going to put out two fights this year and if you look at my recent form that is not something I’ve not done very often. I have only had two fights in the last two years. But I am willing to do whatever I have to in order to get my heavyweight title back.
“If that means fighting more regularly then I am here, ready, with all guns blazing – and looking forward to really going out there and putting on a fantastic show.”
Which of the ranked heavyweights will be first up against Haye, who stopped countryman Dereck Chisora in five explosive rounds last July, remains to be seen.
However, what is not in any doubt is that the Englishman’s overriding ambition is to topple the Klitschkos – firstly taking down 41-year-old Vitali before gaining revenge on 37-year-old Wladimir for that one-sided humiliating points loss in Germany 20 months ago.
“Vitali is the one who said he can knock me out – he’s the guy who people believe is the tougher of the two brothers,” said Haye (26-2, 24 knockouts) on Sky Sports News. “I fought Wladimir before and he was a very tricky customer and I lost on points to him. He’s said publically that he doesn’t want me to fight again. So I am going to go for the brother who said he wants to fight me, which is Vitali.
“Once I have knocked him out I can guarantee the younger brother will want to try and get revenge for his family. That will put me in a position where I can unify the belts.”
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