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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 17:36 GMT
Haye wants speedy progress
David Haye
Haye has set his sights high
Britain's newest professional boxer David Haye is hoping to make a rapid, and stylish, rise to the top.

On Wednesday, the highly-rated 22-year-old announced a 10-fight deal with the BBC.

And he immediately made it clear he intends to climb into the ring with the best fighters as soon as possible.

He said: "I do not want to be held back too long. I've looked at the way top fighters like Oscar de la Hoya progressed, and their opponents always offered something different.

"I do not want to fight against opponents who do not want to win. It does not do me justice, and it is not good for boxing or the BBC."

There was no direct reference, but it seems Haye is keen to avoid any suggestion that his career may begin in the same manner as Audley Harrison.

Audley Harrison
Harrison has been upset by criticism
The Olympic gold-medallist has been widely criticised for his choice of opponents.

And Haye seemed all too aware of the bad blood that has developed between Harrison and the press.

"There's nothing worse than getting in the ring with an opponent who doesn't really want to be there," he added.

"That's why I'd like to move quickly as a professional, and to fight good quality opponents.

"I like to put pressure on myself. When people expect you to do well, you have to do it and that gets me up for a fight."

The 22-year-old will begin his career at cruiserweight, despite taking silver in the heavyweight class at the World Championships last summer.

He said: "I aiming to fight at cruiserweight - I'm only three pounds over the limit at the moment.

"There's been a lot of talk about me moving up to heavyweight but that's a long way down the road.

"I want to focus on cruiserweight and achieve as much as possible in that division.

"If in a few years I want to move up like my idol Evander Holyfield, I'll take that when it comes."


I do not want to take any easy routes - I want to fight the best guys in the world
David Haye
Haye is also clear on how he sees his career developing. He is keen to take the old fashioned route and fight for the British, Commonwealth and European titles in turn.

And he is sure that he is ready to begin his mission now, rather than waiting until after the 2004 Olympics to turn professional.

He said: "I feel the time is right now. I want to be let off the leash. I feel I can get in the ring as an amateur with anyone in the world and beat them.

"It is time to turn professional. If you'd asked when I was three what I wanted to do I would have told you then that I wanted to be a boxer.

"And my dream has come true."


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20 Nov 02 | Boxing
20 Nov 02 | Boxing
29 Jul 02 | Boxing
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