• Lea Worrall

The Hayemaker

Updated: Aug 7, 2019


David Haye


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.

Mormeck then lost his titles in his next fight to O'Neil Bell. After victory in his next contest, Mormeck claimed revenge and both belts with an unanimous decision over Bell. The champion then made his next defence to Haye.


Haye, who was having trouble making weight claimed that this would be his final bout in the division and would campaign as a heavyweight there after. In a close contest it was Mormeck, who was fighting in his home country, put Haye to the canvas in the fourth round.

Going into the seventh round, two of the judges had the champion in front by scores of 57-56, while the third judge favoured Haye 58-55. A clubbing right hand put the champion down. he got up but the referee waved the finish with 64 seconds gone in the round.

Haye was now the new WBC, WBA and The Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion and was persuaded to stay in the weight class for one more fight. An all British affair was too much to refuse for Haye, who took on WBO counterpart Enzo Maccarinelli at the O2 Arena on 08 March 2008.

Maccarinelli turned professional in 1999. He suffered a third round KO loss in his fourth contest, but never looked back after that setback, claiming a ten bout wining streak, before claiming the vacant World Boxing Union title against Bruce Scott.

He made seven successful defences of the belt before going in against Interim WBO champion Marcelo Fabian Dominguez, winning by a ninth round TKO. He went on to make four successful defences, notably a twelve round unanimous decision over former WBC champion Wayne Braithwaite.

The fight poster was billed as Bombs Away asking 'Who will be the last man standing?' Haye, who was the unified champion unusually came into the ring first, with the Welshman following afterwards. Haye's record stood at 20-1 (19 KO's) while Maccarinelli's resume was 28-1 (21 KO's).

After a tentative first round, both boxers were boxing behind high guards as both men knew one shot from the other would end the contest. The second round saw both fighters open up a bit more, but it was Haye who landed a huge right hand that put Maccarinelli on unsteady legs. He was trapped in the corner and Haye threw a barrage of punches, then landed another right that put the WBO champion down.


He got up, but was like a rag doll as referee John Keane waved the finish, meaning Haye added the Welshman's WBO crown to his WBA and WBC championships. This was Haye's final bout in the division and he moved up to heavyweight on 15th November 2008, knocking down Monte Barratt five times before winning by TKO in the fifth round.

It was nearly a year before Haye got into the ring again. He signed to fight Wladamir Klitschko in June 2009, but pulled out due to injury. He then negotiated to fight Vitali Klitschko later on in 2009, but didn't sign the contract he agreed to and instead secretly set up a contest with the huge WBA champion from Russia, Nikolay Valuev.


Valuev won the belt in 2005, outpointing John Ruiz. He successfully defended it three times, before losing a majority decision to Ruslan Chagaev in April 2007. Two victories later he was in with Ruiz again, this time for the vacant WBA crown. Valuev became a two-time heavyweight champion by unanimous decision. He outpointed Evander Holyfield in his first defence, only managing a majority decision over the forty-six year old.

Valuev stood at 7ft (213 cm) tall and officially weighed in at 317 pounds (143.79 KG's). He had a record of 50-1, one no contest and 34 KO's. Haye was 99 pounds (44.91 KG's) less than the 'Russian Giant' and 22cm shorter. His record going into the contest was 22-1 (21 KO's).


The bout took place at the Nuremberg Arena in Germany on 07th November 2009. Haye adopted a circle your opponent hit an run strategy, forcing the champion to chase and jab. The bout was hard to score, but Haye had the power to rock the champion in the final round with a left hook. The bout went to the scorecards, two judges saw Haye the winner with identical scores of 116-112, while the third judge had it even 114, meaning Haye took the title with a majority decision.

The Hayemaker then made his first defence of the belt against top contender John Ruiz, who was looking to become a three-time WBA champion. He first picked up the championship by defeating Evander Holyfield in a rematch. He lost the first contest, which was for the vacant WBA title via an unanimous decision. He also made his first defence to Holyfield that ended in a draw. He then kept the title with a tenth round disqualification against Kirk Johnson.

Ruiz then lost the title on points to Roy Jones Junior on 03rd March 2003. He became interim WBA champion with a points win over Hasim Rahman. He stopped Fres Oquendo in the eleventh round and outpointed Andrew Golota, before losing the title on points to James Toney. The decision was reversed to a no contest when Toney tested positive for a banned substance. He lost the belt to Nikolay Valuev and lost a WBA title eliminator to Ruslan Chagaev. Victories over Otis Tisdale and Jameel McCline, put him inline for a rematch with Valuev for the WBA strap, which he lost on points. A TKO victory over Adnan Serin put him back as number one contender to Davis Haye.


The contest took place at the M.E.N Arena, Manchester on 03rd April 2010. The thirty-eight year old challenger started well, taking the centre of the ring, but a right hand from Haye put him to the canvas within 30 seconds. He was down again moments later and took the eight count, but the referee took a point off Haye for a punch to the back of the head, giving Ruiz valuable seconds to recover before the bout resumed. Haye did as he pleased in the opening round, but the tough challenger managed to survive the first three minutes.

The challenger showed great heart and spirit and proved he wasn't there just for the payday, he wanted the title and kept pressing forward getting closer to Haye, until a right hand floored him again at the end of round five. Ruiz was down again in the sixth and was now beginning to get busted up by the quicker, sharper champion. The challenger lasted until the ninth, when the corner threw in the towel at the two-minute 01 second mark of the round. It was the second stoppage defeat of Ruiz's eighteen year career.


Haye's second defence was an all British encounter against 2000 Olympic champion Audley Harrison, in November 2010. It could be argued that the challenger only got his chance because he was British. The pre-fight comments, notably "It'll be as one sided as a gang rape," were more entertaining than the actual fight. Nothing much happened in rounds one and two, but Haye picked things up in the third, putting Harrison to the canvas. The challenger was up, but Haye was all over him like a rash and the referee quickly stepped in and saved the inept Harrison from further punishment.

On 02nd July 2011 David Haye finally got the fight he craved against IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladamir Klitschko. The Ukrainian won the Super-heavyweight gold title at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and turned pro in the November of that year. Klitschko went 24-0 and picked up the WBC International heavyweight title before losing to journeyman Ross Puritty in front of his home fans in the Ukraine. It was the first time Klitschko fought in his country as a pro. He won round after round, but didn't pace himself and by the tenth round was a spent force. He was stopped in the eleventh round and blamed his emotional state of fighting in front of his home fans for the defeat.

Klitschko then won ten bouts in a row and challenged Chris Byrd for the WBO heavyweight championship on 14th October 2000. He made five successful defences, but suffered a shock second round TKO defeat to Corrie Sanders in Germany on 08th March 2003. In his next fight he picked up the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title and defended it once, before facing Lamon Brewster for the vacant WBO strap.


Klitschko suffered another TKO defeat, this time in the fifth round. Three wins later he was back in with IBF champion Chris Byrd, becoming a two-time heavyweight champion winning via seventh round TKO. In his third defence he gained revenge over Lamon Brewster, wining with a sixth round retirement. He then added the WBO bauble to his IBF belt when he decisioned Sultan Ibragimov on 23rd February 2008.

Five defences later he was at the Imtech-Arena, Altona, Germany taking on the WBA champion David Haye in a much anticipated unification match. After all the pre fight talk, it appeared that David Haye couldn't back up what he said. Klitschko was too big and too good to walk on to one of Haye's concussive punches and added the WBA title to his IBF and WBO straps.

Haye did land the odd hard punch, but not enough to make a dent on his much bigger opponent. Haye did prove he had a good chin as he took some big whacks and even manage to get up from an eleventh round knockdown to lose an unanimous decision 120-107 twice and a 119-109. Haye was ridiculed after blaming the defeat on a broken little toe.


Haye always said that he would retire on his 31st birthday and with the Klitschko rematch not materialising he was as good as his word. But, after a dust up with Derek Chisora at the post fight press conference for Chisora's WBC title challenge to Vitali Klitschko; Haye and Chisora got it on at West Ham United's football stadium Upton Park on 14th July 2012. Haye won the grudge match in the fifth round by TKO, after dropping his opponent twice in that round.

With fights falling through, the first was against Manuel Charr, where Haye suffered a broken hand in training. Then two much publicised bouts with Tyson Fury never happened due to a cut suffered in sparring and the second date Haye had a career ending injury to his right shoulder.

After reconstructive surgery Haye finally climbed through the ropes after a three-and-a-half-year layoff and took on the number ten ranked heavyweight Mark de Mori on 16th January 2016. De Mori had an impressive record of 30-1-2 (26 KO's), but put up no resistance and lasted only two-minutes and 11 seconds.

Four months later Haye was back in the ring with 29-0 Swiss heavyweight Arnold Gjergiaj. He too didn't put up much of a fight, but did last into round two, after suffering a first round knockdown. With 91 seconds of the second round gone the fight was stopped in Haye's favour.


With a contest with Shannon Briggs falling through, Tony Bellew talked his way into a March 2017 date with Haye, after calling him out in the ring after successfully defending his WBC cruiserweight title against BJ Flores. (For more information about Tony Bellew then please visit http://lw05boxing.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-evertonian-bomber.html)

Haye vs Bellew was scheduled for 04th March 2017 and both men traded insults during the press conferences. The one in Liverpool was a vociferous affair with the Hayemaker losing his cool as he was drawn in to the Scouse fans chants and labelled them the scum of the earth.

The contest took place at the O2 Arena in London and Haye with everyone else apart from Team Bellew were expecting an early night for the Hayemaker. The former WBA heavyweight champion weighed 224.5 pounds (101.83 KG's) came out looking to land some big bombs and get his man out of there as quickly as possible. Bellew, who scaled 213.5 pounds (96.84 KG's) was very shrewd and was able to make the bigger man miss.

With Haye neglecting his jab and looking to land big, played a little into the Liverpudlian's hands. After five rounds it looked like only a matter of time before Bellew would need rescuing as he was cut and beginning to get busted up.

Then in the sixth round Haye landed awkwardly, which ruptured his Achilles. From that moment on all of his mobility, the thing that his style relies on the most, simply vanished and Bellew began to take control, forcing Haye to a mandatory eight count.

Haye bravely fought on, even calling his man to the ropes as he couldn't move around the ring. Bellew showed patience and picked his man off at will. After the disastrous rounds of six through to eight, Haye did manage to win the ninth.


The end finally came in the closing stages of round eleven as Bellew punched Haye through the ropes. The Londoner did manage to get himself back in the ring upright, but his trainer Shane McGuigan (son of Barry) threw in the towel at two-minutes 16 seconds.

Haye made no excuses after the fight and exorcised the demons of the broken little toe excuse he came out with after his points loss to Wladamir Klitschko. "The ankle was just one of those things. The better man won on the night. It wasn't my night. I didn't land the good shots. I was in good shape but his game was better than mine."

Bellew, who respectfully said "In my eyes I've beaten the best cruiserweight this country has ever produced and one of the best heavyweights. I am honoured to fight in the same ring as him. I've looked up to him. He made the same mistake everybody else does. He underestimated me."

The rematch was set for 17th December 2017, but Haye suffered an injury to his bicep when he fell down a flight of stairs during a training drill. The bout then went ahead on 05th May 2018 again at the O2 Arena. Haye was favourite to gain revenge over his smaller opponent, but Bellew had to be treated with respect this time.


Both men came in slightly lighter this time and Haye worked behind the jab for the first two rounds. Bellew was content to wait for his moment to come and didn't have to wait for long, as in the third he managed to floor his rival. Haye was on the floor again just before the end of the round.

Haye looked to land the equaliser, but Bellew was patient and picked his shots to perfection. Haye looked like his legs were made out of jelly, but managed to hear the bell to end round four. With two minutes remaining in the fifth round, both men traded left hooks; it was Haye who came of worse as he was on the canvas for a third time. Haye was on the ropes, with Bellew landing at will, leaving referee Howard Foster no choice but to end the contest at two-minutes and 14 seconds.

Haye didn't comment on his future during the ring interview, but announced his retirement via his Hayemaker website by video and a written statement on 12th June 2018, saying these gallants words about Tony Bellew:

"Ahead of my final two fights with Tony Bellew, we publicly showed each other little respect. But this was just two veterans giving the crowd what they wanted: a grudge match.

Despite the pre-fight hype, I can assure you I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Tony. Whenever I traded punches with him, and whenever I was in his presence, I felt the inner warrior. I saw a man who would take the battle as far as necessary to get victory; a man who, like myself, would rather die than give up or quit; a man I’d want on my side of the battlefield if going to war.

As for what happened on May 5, 2018, I did not walk to the ring injured, nor injure myself during the fight.

On the face of it, I was in tip-top shape. I’d adapted and modified training sessions around my 37-year-old body with great success. When stood in front of the locker room mirror before the fight, my body looked as it did 10 years ago; my mind primed and ready for action. I walked to the ring with nothing but confidence.

But looks can be deceiving."

Haye finished with a record of 28-4 with 26 knockouts and will be remembered as the first unified cruiserweight world champion and heavyweight title holder since Evander Holyfield diid the same feat in the 80's and 90's. He now will concentrate his time on promoting and managing up and coming fighters.

All the best fight fans

Lea @LeaWorrall

If you enjoyed this article then please take a look at the eBook Mike Tyson The Iron Years https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07FMGXB13


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