David Deron Haye (born 13 October 1980) is a British professional boxer who has held world titles in two weight classes. He is the first British boxer to reach the final of the World Amateur Boxing Championships, where he won a silver medal in 2001. As a professional he became the first British boxer to become a unified cruiserweight world champion in 2008, winning three out of the four major world titles, as well as The Ring magazine and lineal titles. He then moved up to heavyweight and became the WBA champion in 2009 after defeating Nikolai Valuev, who had a world record 11 inches and 7 stone advantage on Haye. Along with Evander Holyfield, Haye is one of only two boxers to have unified the cruiserweight world titles and become a world heavyweight champion.
Haye is an unorthodox style of fighter who relies heavily on his speed and athleticism, and also carries exceptional punching power which has earned him the nickname of "The Hayemaker". He boasts an 86.2% knockout ratio and to date he has defeated six world champions. In 2008, Haye founded his own boxing promotional firm, Hayemaker Promotions. Haye returned to the ring at the age of 35 on 16 January 2016 after a three and half year hiatus to score a first round knockout victory over Mark de Mori.
Early life and education
Haye grew up among the town houses of the Peabody Estate, near the famous Tate Modern Gallery and around the corner from the South Bank tourist attraction, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Haye went to school at the highly reputed Bacon's College. His College principal Tony Perry remembers Haye as a ‘very athletic, very smart young man’. Haye started his ambition and passion for boxing at old-school boxing gym Fitzroy Lodge Boxing Club in Lambeth, South London, where he quickly impressed and confidently won his first amateur bouts. Mick Carney, who ran the gym where David began training from 10 years old, said of Haye: ‘He could whack as a kid. I think he chinned about three kids. But that made it really hard to get him matches. When you’ve got three first-round knockouts on your card everybody runs for the hills. David was a lovely kid. He comes from a beautiful, loving family. He wasn’t on the streets. He went to school, came to the gym, went home. His family bestowed love and affection on him. Bermondsey might have been bad, but he, his brother and his sister were nice people from a nice family.’
Amateur career and World Championships
In 1999, 18-year-old Haye participated at the world amateur championships in Houston, Texas, USA at light-heavyweight where he KO'd the then ABA light-heavyweight champion Courtney Fry, but missed out on the 2000 Sydney Olympics after a controversial defeat in the qualifier after being eliminated by experienced American Michael Simms early in the contest.
At the 2001 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland he fought in the heavyweight 201-lb. division where he beat world class Sebastian Köber to reach the final where he gave Odlanier Solís a standing eight count before being stopped by the Cuban in round three, and taking the silver medal.
Based in Bermondsey, London, England, Haye turned professional in December 2002, aged 22. In his first fight he defeated by way of knockout, Hull-based Tony Booth.
In 2003 he won fights, two of which were the only fights he has fought in the United States. He won all by knockouts, the most notable being a fourth round KO of Lolenga Mock, in which Haye had to come off the floor to win.
World title challenge
Later that year, in his eleventh pro fight, he fought 40-year-old former WBO champion Carl Thompson in a 'youth vs experience' matchup. Haye started fast and alarmingly caught Thompson with constant barrages of power punches, coming close to forcing a stoppage at numerous points over the first few rounds.
Gradually, despite the early punishment he received, Thompson warmed up and worked his way into the fight whilst Haye seemed to tire and slow down. Thompson began to pressure Haye and knocked Haye down with a chopping right hand in round 5. With seven seconds left in the round, Thompson landed two jabs followed by a flush right hand which cleanly caught a fatigued Haye, and compelled Haye's corner to throw in the towel, Haye was leading on all 3 score cards before the stoppage.
Haye returned against Estonian Valery Semishkur, winning by TKO in round 1, then defeated Garry Delaney by a third round TKO. Following two more fights against Glen Kelly and Vincenzo Rossitto, Haye faced Alexander Gurov for the EBU cruiserweight championship. Haye easily knocked out Gurov with a single right hand in just 45 seconds.
In January 2006, Haye signed a three-year contract with former Lennox Lewis promoter Frank Maloney to further his world title ambitions. He successfully defended his EBU title against Ismail Abdoul. He defeated Giacobbe Fragomeni, when he dramatically broke through the Italian's defences in the ninth round, finally flooring his man in a flurry of punches. Haye had waited seven years for the opportunity to turn the tables on Fragomeni, who controversially out-pointed him as an amateur in the final qualifying tournament for the Sydney Games.
Haye's cameo at heavyweight in April 2007 resulted in an impressive first-round KO win over Polish fighter Tomasz Bonin, who at the time was ranked No. 9 by the WBC and had only one loss, against Audley Harrison. Haye admitted he was taking "a crazy step up" when he fought world-ranked heavyweight Bonin at Wembley Arena. Haye said in a post fight interview "If you asked me when I was three years old, I'd say I'm going to be the heavyweight champion of world. I never said cruiserweight. "It's what I wanted to do since I can remember. I always wanted to be the main man in boxing. "I want everyone to recognise I can beat every other boxer in the world. "That's why I'm fighting the guy I'm fighting. I really want to prove to everyone I am the man."
Unified cruiserweight champion
Haye vs. Mormeck
Haye challenged Jean-Marc Mormeck (33-3, 22 KOs) on 10 November 2007 for the WBA, WBC, and The Ring cruiserweight titles. During the bout Haye unleashed a frightening combination made up of a right upper cut, left, then right hook to floor Mormeck. The technical knockout was all the more remarkable after Haye was put on the canvas in the fourth round. The win meant Haye became Britain's sixth world champion. "I worked my way back into the fight and showed great heart," Seventeen weeks of hard work have paid off. Haye defeated Mormeck by knockout in the seventh round. The victory confirmed Haye's arrival as a genuine world class fighter. At this point Haye made his initial mark on history as Britain's first two-belt cruiserweight champion.
The Mormeck fight was expected to be Haye's last fight in the cruiserweight division. However Haye would be tempted into a unification cruiserweight bout for the most lucrative fight of his career.
Haye vs. Maccarinelli
Haye and Enzo Maccarinelli (28-1, 21 KOs) met in an all-British world cruiserweight title fight, in the early hours of 9 March 2008 at O2 Arena in London. Haye's WBA, WBC, and The Ring titles were at stake, while Maccarinelli's WBO title was on the line. British trade paper Boxing News produced a pullout special on the match, which was widely billed as the biggest all-British bout since Chris Eubank met Nigel Benn. As both fighters are hard punchers with excellent KO records, a short fight was predicted. These predictions proved to be correct, as Haye knocked out Maccarinelli in the second round of the contest. Commenting on the fight and of the prospect of working again with Frank Warren, Maccarinelli's promoter, Haye said, "We thank Frank for sacrificing Maccarinelli, but we'd feel immense guilt if we took any more free money from Sports Network. I have a hard enough time sleeping at night as it is."
Haye described the victory over Maccarinelli as "the final piece" in his cruiserweight jigsaw. Haye then defeated heavyweight Monte Barrett at The O2 Arena in London on 15 November 2008, winning via TKO in the fifth round.
WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko confirmed he would defend his title in a fight with Haye to take place on 20 June 2009, at Stamford Bridge in London. Instead, his younger brother, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko agreed to fight Haye the same date in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Haye pulled out of the fight claiming a back injury.
WBA heavyweight champion
Haye vs. Valuev
Haye then confirmed that he would meet the WBA champion Nikolay Valuev (50-1, 34 KOs) on 7 November 2009 in the Nuremberg Arena, Nuremberg, Germany. Haye's former trainer Adam Booth claimed it was a fight that Valuev wanted; it was billed as David and Goliath. Haye weighed in at 217 pounds, almost 100 pounds less than his opponent. Haye said about Valuev: "He is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I have watched Lord of the Rings and films with strange-looking people, but for a human being to look like he does is pretty shocking."
Haye beat Valuev in a reserved display of accuracy and efficiency, countering Valuev's misses, jabbing and circling his much larger opponent. Haye came close to knocking out Valuev in the final round with a hard left hand, which made Valuev stumble. Haye won a majority decision with scores of 114–114, 116–112 and 116–112. Haye is the first and currently only boxer in the history of the sport to be seven stone or more lighter than an opponent in a World title fight and still come out victorious.
Haye vs. Ruiz
On 3 April 2010 Haye defeated John Ruiz in his first WBA title defence at the Manchester Arena by TKO in the ninth round after knocking him down four times during the fight. This was only the second time Ruiz has been stopped, after being knocked out in round one by David Tua fourteen years prior to facing David Haye. After the fight, Haye immediately called on both Klitschko brothers, after claiming their recent challengers Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola were "a disgrace to boxing."
Haye vs. Harrison
It was confirmed on 7 September 2010 that Haye would fight Audley Harrison on 13 November 2010 at the Manchester Arena. The press conference for the bout became heated, leading to the two fighters swearing at each other on live television. On 13 November 2010, Haye defeated Harrison with one minute, seven seconds remaining of the third round by TKO. Southpaw Harrison landed one jab during the entire fight. He staggered to his feet after being knocked down, only for Haye to immediately pounce right back on him, hitting him with another flurry of punches. The referee intervened and ended the bout. Harrison only landed 1 punch out of 32 thrown.
Haye's plans to unify the heavyweight division took a major setback in January 2011 when it was revealed that Tomas Adamek would fight one of the Klitschko brothers in September 2011, before his planned retirement in October of that year. However, in April 2011, it was announced that Haye and Wladimir Klitschko had agreed to meet at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg on 2 July 2011.
Haye vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Wladimir Klitschko versus David Haye was a heavyweight unification fight for the WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring heavyweight titles, the fight taking place at the Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany on 2 July 2011 This was the only heavyweight unification fight since Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov fought back in 2008. It was then when Wladimir Klitschko beat Ibragimov and added his WBO title to his IBF title. Klitschko defeated Haye by a unanimous decision to become the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and The Ring heavyweight champion. Haye had a broken toe that allegedly inhibited him from pushing off his back foot during the fight, and showed little or none of his usual explosiveness in the ring. The official scores were: 118–108, 117–109 & 116–110, which were all in favour of Klitschko.
BBC chief Charlie Smith told The Sun on 11 October 2011 that David Haye had informed him that he would not be renewing his boxing licence, thus retiring from the sport. Haye has had a long-standing plan to retire early. After the Harrison fight Haye said his plans to retire before he is 31 had not altered: "I will have achieved what I wanted to achieve – undisputed cruiserweight champion, unify the heavyweight division and then call it a day." In December 2010, during the negotiations to fight Wladimir Klitschko, Haye said if the fight did not happen, "I'll just have to accept that becoming the WBA champion was enough and move on with my life. That'll be 20 years of getting punched in the face, which is a long enough time. I set my goals and achieved them so unifying the titles is the cherry on the cake but if it doesn't happen it wasn't meant to be and I've just got to get on with my life".
Haye vs. Vitali Klitschko negotiations
Haye put retirement on hold and was in negotiations for a possible bout with WBC heavyweight title holder Vitali Klitschko on 3 March 2012. However, Klitschko went on to schedule a fight with Dereck Chisora on 18 February 2012, which he won by decision. Following the fight there was a fracas between Chisora and Haye, who had attended as a spectator, leading to speculation that Haye might come out of retirement to fight Chisora. However, on 21 February, Haye confirmed that he would only come out of retirement to fight Klitschko. On 8 May, Haye signed on to face Dereck Chisora on 14 July.
Haye vs. Chisora
Press conference brawl
After his loss to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, Dereck Chisora got into a brawl with compatriot David Haye at the post-fight press conference. Klitschko’s manager Bernd Boente said "with the bad experience we've had with British fighters we will now look for other countries". He then told Haye from the dais "You had an offer, you didn't accept it, now you are out. You are out. You cannot talk yourself back into the fight, you have no belts." Chisora then called out Haye, but Haye dismissed Chisora as "a loser". Chisora challenged Haye to tell him that to his face and approached Haye sparking a melee with Haye throwing the first punch with what appeared to be a glass bottle in his hand, as the brawl progressed Haye was seen swinging a camera tripod. After order was restored, a furious Chisora stated multiple times that he would "shoot" David Haye and claimed Haye "glassed" him. Haye's former manager Adam Booth emerged from the fracas with a facial wound and Chisora suggested to Booth that Haye hit him with a bottle by mistake while Booth insisted it was one of Chisora's entourage that had hit him with a bottle . During an interview at the Chisora Vs Haye press conference Booth was asked "how did you end up with a cut on your head?" to which he replied "David hit me with a tripod" but also added "he bought me a new S-class Mercedes as an apology".
On 8 May 2012, Haye and his promotion team announced that he would fight against Dereck Chisora at Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, London on 14 July 2012. The announcement caused controversy as neither held a British Boxing Licence, and so had agreed a licence deal with the Luxembourg Boxing Association. Seen as a direct attempt to undermine the British Boxing Board of Control, it meant that fights could take place in Britain even if a boxer was facing disciplinary action.
Haye won the fight with a fifth round stoppage in front of over 40,000 spectators. Knocked to the floor in the fifth round, receiving a count of eight, Chisora recovered only to be floored again in the same round. Referee Luis Pabon decided Chisora was unable to continue signalling the end of the contest.
Haye vs. Fury negotiations
Haye was due to fight Manuel Charr at Manchester Arena on 29 June 2013. However, the fight was called off because Haye had suffered an injury. Haye later arranged a fight with Tyson Fury at the same venue on 28 September 2013. However, a week before the fight, David Haye sustained a cut to the head which required several stitches, so yet again the fight was postponed. It was originally rescheduled for 8 February 2014. However Haye dropped out of the fight on 17 November 2013 after shoulder surgery. Although doctors advised Haye to retire from boxing, he never officially announced his retirement.
Split with Adam Booth
Haye vs. de Mori
On 24 November 2015, Haye and his new promotion and management team, Salter Brothers Entertainment, announced his comeback fight against WBA #10 ranked heavyweight Mark de Mori. The fight took place on 16 January 2016 (marketed by Salter Brothers Entertainment as "Haye Day") at the O2 Arena in London, and was Haye's first fight in more than three years since stopping Dereck Chisora in 2012. Coming into the fight, Australian De Mori had lost only once in 33 career bouts and 26 of his 29 victories had come via knockout, albeit against limited opposition. It was announced on 6 January 2016 that Haye and the Salter Brothers had struck a deal for the comeback fight to be shown on free-to-air entertainment channel Dave, the largest non-PSB broadcaster in the UK and the channel's first ever live sport broadcast. Haye commented on the broadcast deal, stating: "I'm looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans on 'Haye Day' at The O2 on January 16 and I'm delighted that my first fight in three-and-a-half years is going to be available free to air on Dave, giving as many people as possible the chance to watch my comeback. I was determined to make this comeback fight free to everybody and fans should sit back and get ready for another fun-fuelled ride as I look to regain the heavyweight championship of the world." In a worlds first Salter Brothers Entertainment also partnered with YouTube to live stream the event outside of the UK to a global audience for free. Haye knocked out de Mori in 113 seconds of the first round. The broadcast of the fight on Dave was the most successful show in the history of the channel after achieving an audience of over 3 million people, experiencing a higher share of the UK audience than Channel 4 and was only one per cent behind ITV. The event was the first ever boxing match to be shot and streamed live in 360 and VR via a partnership between Salter Brothers Entertainment and IM360. A large number of celebrities were in attendance; Sigma performed an opening concert and A-lister guests ringside included Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba.
Haye vs. Gjergjaj
On Tuesday 26 January 2016, Haye announced his next fight, (marketed as "Haye Day 2") would take place on 21 May 2016 at The O2 in London in Haye's pursuit of reclaiming and unifying the heavyweight world titles. His opponent was the little known Swiss fighter Arnold Gjergjaj. Haye floored Gjergjaj with a right hand inside the first 30 seconds of the fight, and then proceeded drop him again with a left jab and a third time with a chopping right in the second round before the fight was waved off by the referee. For a second time Haye used free-to-air channel Dave to broadcast the fight, but this time it was promoted by Haye himself with Hayemaker Promotions and not by Salter Brothers Entertainment.
Haye created his own documentary reality show, David Haye versus, under his production company Hayemaker Productions, which was broadcast on Sky 1 from 28 to 29 June 2011. It featured him training and in conversation with A-lister friends he recruited for the show that included Ricky Gervais, Justin Bieber, Michael McIntyre, Dizzee Rascal, and Mickey Rourke.
David was born to a white English mother and a black Jamaican father and grew up in Bermondsey, London for most of his childhood. He has an older sister Louisa and a younger brother James. Haye attended Bacon's College in Rotherhithe, South East London.
Haye is a UK citizen, having previously held dual Northern Cyprus citizenship in 2010. In 2007 and 2008 his training camp was based in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus, and he has sometimes worn the Northern Cyprus flag on his shorts alongside the Flag of St. George, the Union Flag and the Jamaican Flag. In November 2012 Haye took part in the twelfth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, in which he finished third.
In early 2014, Haye became vegan. He also launched his own range of vegan protein. David gave up eating animal products at the beginning of 2014 and was immediately open about his reasons for doing so. "I watched a TV documentary about how animals are farmed, killed and prepared for us to eat", he explained. "I saw all those cows and pigs and realised I couldn’t be a part of it any more. It was horrible. I did some research to make sure I could still obtain enough protein to fight and, once satisfied that I could, I stopped. I’ll never go back." He was named one of PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Celebrities of 2014 in UK.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University on 20 October 2010.
He was selected for the final 10 shortlist for the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award for his performance in the matches in which he had successfully defended his title from challengers Ruiz and Harrison.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|30 fights||28 wins||2 losses|
|30||Win||28–2||Arnold Gjergjaj||TKO||2 (10), 1:35||21 May 2016||The O2 Arena, London, England|
|29||Win||27–2||Mark de Mori||TKO||1 (10), 2:11||16 Jan 2016||The O2 Arena, London, England|
|28||Win||26–2||Dereck Chisora||TKO||5 (10), 2:51||14 Jul 2012||Boleyn Ground, London, England||Won WBO International heavyweight title|
|27||Loss||25–2||Wladimir Klitschko||UD||12||2 Jul 2011||Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany||Lost WBA heavyweight title;|
For IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, lineal, and vacant WBA (Super) heavyweight titles
|26||Win||25–1||Audley Harrison||TKO||3 (12), 1:53||13 Nov 2010||MEN Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|25||Win||24–1||John Ruiz||TKO||9 (12), 2:01||3 Apr 2010||MEN Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|24||Win||23–1||Nikolai Valuev||MD||12||7 Nov 2009||Nuremberg Arena, Nuremberg, Germany||Won WBA heavyweight title|
|23||Win||22–1||Monte Barrett||TKO||5 (10), 1:28||15 Nov 2008||The O2 Arena, London, England|
|22||Win||21–1||Enzo Maccarinelli||TKO||2 (12), 2:04||8 Mar 2008||The O2 Arena, London, England||Retained WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring, and lineal cruiserweight titles;|
Won WBO cruiserweight title
|21||Win||20–1||Jean-Marc Mormeck||TKO||7 (12), 1:54||10 Nov 2007||Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan, Paris, France||Won WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring, and lineal cruiserweight titles|
|20||Win||19–1||Tomasz Bonin||TKO||1 (12), 1:45||27 Apr 2007||Wembley Arena, London, England|
|19||Win||18–1||Giacobbe Fragomeni||TKO||9 (12), 1:29||17 Nov 2006||York Hall, London, England||Retained European cruiserweight title|
|18||Win||17–1||Ismail Abdoul||UD||12||21 Jul 2006||Leisure Centre, Altrincham, England||Retained European cruiserweight title|
|17||Win||16–1||Lasse Johansen||TKO||8 (12), 2:08||24 Mar 2006||York Hall, London, England||Retained European cruiserweight title|
|16||Win||15–1||Alexander Gurov||KO||1 (12), 0:45||16 Dec 2005||Leisure Centre, Bracknell, England||Won European cruiserweight title|
|15||Win||14–1||Vincenzo Rossitto||TKO||2 (10), 2:55||14 Oct 2005||Leisure Centre, Huddersfield, England|
|14||Win||13–1||Glen Kelly||TKO||2 (10), 1:09||4 Mar 2005||Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham, England|
|13||Win||12–1||Garry Delaney||RTD||3 (6), 3:00||21 Jan 2005||Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre, London, England|
|12||Win||11–1||Valeri Semiskur||KO||1 (6), 1:36||10 Dec 2004||Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Sheffield, England|
|11||Loss||10–1||Carl Thompson||TKO||5 (12), 2:53||10 Sep 2004||Wembley Arena, London, England||For IBO cruiserweight title|
|10||Win||10–0||Arthur Williams||TKO||3 (8), 2:46||12 May 2004||Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading, England|
|9||Win||9–0||Hastings Rasani||TKO||1 (6), 2:17||20 Mar 2004||Wembley Arena, London, England|
|8||Win||8–0||Tony Dowling||TKO||1 (10), 1:35||14 Nov 2003||York Hall, London, England||Won vacant English cruiserweight title|
|7||Win||7–0||Lolenga Mock||TKO||4 (6), 2:30||26 Sep 2003||Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading, England|
|6||Win||6–0||Greg Scott-Briggs||KO||1 (6), 2:04||1 Aug 2003||York Hall, London, England|
|5||Win||5–0||Vance Winn||TKO||1 (6), 0:54||15 Jul 2003||Playboy Mansion, Beverly Hills, California, US|
|4||Win||4–0||Phil Day||TKO||2 (4), 2:09||18 Mar 2003||Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading, England|
|3||Win||3–0||Roger Bowden||TKO||1 (6), 2:42||4 Mar 2003||Seville Hotel, Miami, Florida, US|
|2||Win||2–0||Saber Zairi||TKO||4 (4), 0:54||24 Jan 2003||Ponds Forge, Sheffield, England|
|1||Win||1–0||Tony Booth||RTD||2 (4), 3:00||8 Dec 2002||York Hall, London, England||Professional debut|
Titles in boxing
|New title||English cruiserweight champion|
14 November 2003 – 2004
Title next held byDean Francis
|European cruiserweight champion|
16 December 2005 – June 2007
Title next held byVincenzo Cantatore
Title last held byRobert Helenius
|WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight champion|
14 July 2012 – 2013
Title next held byLucas Browne
|New title||WBO International heavyweight champion|
14 July 2012 – 2013
Title next held byDereck Chisora
|WBA cruiserweight champion|
10 November 2007 – 12 May 2008
Title next held byDenis Lebedev
|WBC cruiserweight champion|
10 November 2007 – 12 May 2008
Title next held byGiacobbe Fragomeni
|The Ring cruiserweight champion|
10 November 2007 – 23 May 2008
Title next held byTomasz Adamek
|Lineal cruiserweight champion|
10 November 2007 – 23 May 2008
|WBO cruiserweight champion|
8 March 2008 – 12 May 2008
Title next held byVictor Emilio Ramírez
|WBA heavyweight champion|
7 November 2009 – 2 July 2011
Lost bid for Super title
as Super champion