Updated: Aug 7, 2019
David Haye started his amateur career at the age of ten, wining by a 12 second knockout. He claims his first five contests ended in the first round. Adam Booth started training him at the age of sixteen. His amateur record stands at 83-13 with seven of those defeats being controversial. He picked up a silver medal at the 2001 world championships. Injury to his bicep in the win over Pakistan's Shuaib Ali meant he had to withdraw from his next match against Canada's Jason Douglas at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester.
Haye, who was born in Bermondsey, London on 13th October 1980 made his professional debut at cruiserweight on 08th December 2002, against Tony Booth. The contest took place at the famous York Hall, Bethnal Green with Haye winning after a second round retirement from his opponent. He won his fifth contest at the Playboy Mansion, beating Vance Win in just 54 seconds.
In contest number eight, he took his first professional title in the guise of the vacant English cruiserweight title, knocking out Tony Dowling in the first round. With victory in his next fight, he took on the biggest name of his career so far, Arthur Williams.
Williams was a former IBF cruiserweight champion. He won the title by beating Imamu Mayfield in the ninth round, but lost the belt in his first defence against Vassiliy Jirov of Kazakhstan. Before his IBF success he challenged Orlin Norris, losing a split decision, before losing by a seventh round TKO in the rematch.
Williams was forty years old and had a record of 38-10-1 (27 KO's), but Haye was too fast and too young and the referee saved the former champion from taking any further punishment with 12 seconds remaining of round number three.
Next up for 'The Hayemaker' was another veteran, Carl 'The Cat' Thompson. The forty year old made his professional debut in 1988. With a record of 10-3 he took on Steve Lewsam in June 1992 for the vacant British title, winning by an eighth round TKO.
In his next contest he won the vacant WBC International championship against Arthur Weathers with a second round knockout. Two victories later he went to Italy and challenged Massimiliano Duran for the European crown, winning with an eighth round knockout.
On 10th June 1995 he faced Ralf Rocchigiani in his home city of Manchester for the vacant WBO cruiserweight title. He suffered his fourth defeat as he dislocated his shoulder and informed the referee he couldn't continue. Three wins later he went to Germany and won the rematch with Rocchigiani via a split decision to be crowned WBO champion.
In 1998 he had two epic battles with Chris Eubank, winning a split decision, then becoming the first man to stop him. Eubank retired after the bout. The following year Thompson suffered his fifth defeat at the hands of Johnny Nelson.
Thompson suffered another loss in 2001, but returned to the ring in 2003, winning three. In his next bout he was in against the South African Sebastiaan Rothmann for the lightly regarded IBO cruiserweight title. Thompson was down in the fourth, but put his opponent on the canvas in the next round. Behind on the scorecards Thompson produced a devastating right hand that relieved the South African of his senses in the ninth round.
Haye and Thompson clashed at the Wembley Arena in London on 10th September 2004 for the IBO title. It was youth versus experience and the younger man was all over Thompson in the first and second rounds. Haye's punches had lost some snap in the third, but he was still landing the harder shots. Thompson had a better fourth round as the pace slowed and he was pushing the younger man back and finding the range with his own right hand. The old war horse started the fifth bouncing on his toes as Haye looked rooted the canvas. Haye had punched himself out, but a right hand hurt Thompson, though Haye didn't have the energy to put a combination together.
Haye got tagged with a right hand as he came in that floored him. Haye got up, but he was in trouble. Thompson was landing some big shots and towards the end of the round a right had Haye out on his feet and his corner threw in the towel. Thompson had taken Haye's unbeaten record.
The Hayemaker regrouped and four victories later was put in with Alexander Gurov for the European title. Haye needed 45 seconds to become champion, putting the Thompson defeat to bed. He defended the championship three times, going the full twelve round distance for the first time in his second defence against Ismail Abdoul.
On 27th April 2007 Haye made his bow at heavyweight, needing one minute and 45 seconds to despatch the Pole Tomasz Bonin. Seven months later he travelled to France to take on Jean Marc Momeck for the WBC and WBA cruiserweight titles.
The champion became a professional in 1995 at light-heavyweight. After two early career defeats he went on an unbeaten run of twenty-eight contests, defeating Virgil Hill for the WBA cruiserweight title on 23rd February 2002. In his fourth defence he added Wayne Braithwaite's WBC belt to his WBA crown.