Haye claimed a majority points victory over Valuev
By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Nuremberg
New WBA heavyweight champion David Haye says the "support and love" of the British public spurred him on to his stunning defeat of Nikolay Valuev.
Haye claimed a majority points decision over the reigning champion to become Britain's first heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis retired in 2003.
"I'd like to thank the British fans for their support, it made me feel I could not let Valuev win," he told BBC Sport.
"People said I'd get booed, but we had more Brits at the fight than Germans."
Haye, who is only the second former cruiserweight to win a heavyweight world title after Evander Holyfield, added: "The British fans really went beyond the call of duty coming out here.
"People also kept telling me how big a deal it had become back home, with all the pubs rammed and people running round in the streets with Union Jacks.
"I'm looking forward to getting back and seeing what its all about."
Sky Box Office, who broadcast the fight, reported that they had to hire extra staff to deal with requests as interest grew in the lead-up.
And, on the night, a sizable proportion of the 10,000 crowd at the Nuremberg Arena were Brits - with Haye calling their support "phenomenal".
"It's a lifelong ambition fulfilled," said Haye of his triumph. "I said I'd be heavyweight champion of the world when I was a little kid and here I am. It does feel slightly surreal, but it's the start of bigger things now."
The 29-year-old Londoner, who used his superior movement and hand-speed to grind Valuev down over 12 rounds, said he had fought "the perfect tactical fight".
"Anyone who knows anything about boxing can clearly see I won that fight pretty comfortably," said Haye.
The game-plan was to make him miss, make him look terrible, amateur, make him feel inadequate and embarrass him
"I would have liked a knockout, but sometimes people can't be knocked out. I broke my hand in the second round so I couldn't keep landing big bombs.
"The game-plan was to make him miss, make him look terrible, amateur, make him feel inadequate and embarrass him. It went that way.
"I can't really walk through the guy - he weighs seven stone more than me - so I had to find a strategy to beat him. I did. I hit him more times than he hit me."
Speed was key to title - Haye
Haye rubbished Valuev's suggestions that he had spent the fight running away, adding that the 36-year-old "hadn't hurt me at any time".
"If he could have used the same tactics against me, he would have used them," said Haye, who now has 23 wins from 24 fights.
"It was always going to be a tricky fight, but it was as easy as I made it. I counteracted everything he tried to do and outclassed him in there.
"Just in case there were any doubters, I put in that big last round to stamp it home, although I had to really keep my discipline and stay focused."
Haye is expected to fight former two-time world heavyweight champion John Ruiz next and is confident of "knocking him spark out".
The 37-year-old Ruiz, who has lost twice to Valuev, stopped Adnan Serin on the undercard on Saturday.
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