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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 15:13 GMT
Haye ready to step up a level
By Ed King

David Haye

In a sport that thrives on its macho image of fighters training in basic downtown gyms, David Haye cuts an unlikely figure.

While many of his contemporaries prepare in boxing's East End heartland, Haye can be found in a Soho gym that counts Kylie Minogue as one of its clients.

The location may be unusual, but then Haye is not your average boxer, in or out of the ring.

A recent bout at Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion proved that the 23-year-old is not afraid of courting publicity - and a one round demolition of his opponent that night impressed onlookers.

With his explosive power, quick hands, and movement around the ring Haye appears to have all the components to win a world title, a goal he believes he is on course to achieve.

"The plan is to be British and Commonwealth Champion next year, providing boxing politics doesn't interfere," he told this website.

Questions were raised during Haye's last fight against Congolese cruiserweight Lolenga Mock in September.

Haye won in four rounds by way of knock-out, but only after Mock had sent him sprawling to the canvas in the second round with a wild right hook.

Former IBO Champion Carl Thompson
To me Carl Thompson is the best cruiserweight in the country
David Haye

"I went out there with the attitude that I was going to knock him down, and I did the wrong thing at the wrong time, and the next thing I knew I was on the floor," he said.

"But one of the biggest plusses that can come from that fight is if future opponents think I have a weak chin.

"Hopefully every cruiserweight in Britain watched that fight and fancies their chances, because before they were saying under no circumstances would they face me.

"But now they realise I am human, and I can be beaten - but in saying that it will be a rude awakening when they get in the ring and realise that shot isn't on offer."

With seven professional fights under his belt, Haye is now looking to step up a level with former IBO title holder Carl Thompson firmly in his sights.

The 39-year-old southpaw has fought three times this year, and Haye believes a fight could be on the cards early next year.

"To me Carl is the best cruiserweight in the country, besides Johnny Nelson who is a world champion.

Lolenga Mock W TKO 4
Gregg Scott-Briggs W KO 1
Vance Wynn W KO
Phil Day W TKO 2
Roger Bowden W TKO 1
Saber Zairi W TKO 4
Tony Booth W TKO 2

"I've always said I want to face the best fighters out there, and Carl is one of the best - he is a big puncher and has a high knock-out ratio

"His people want him to have a few fights before he gets in the ring with me, but when it does happen I'm confident I will win conclusively."

A successful David Haye would be a breath of fresh air for British boxing, which is desperate for a new icon with Lennox Lewis' expected retirement, and the departure of Hamed, Eubank and Benn from the scene.

Good looking, exciting and marketable, Haye could propel the sport back into the headlines in a way Ricky Hatton, despite his all-action style, will never achieve.

The future is bright, but for the moment at least Haye is keeping his feet on the ground.

"People have invested a lot of time and money in me, I know I can achieve great things and it's just a question of getting out and doing it."

If his last fight taught him anything, it is that in boxing you cannot afford to take your eye off your next opponent for a moment, and he knows at this point in his career - too much is at stake.

Haye targets first title
11 Nov 03  |  Boxing
Haye battles to win
27 Sep 03  |  Boxing
Haye signs with Lewis
22 May 03  |  Boxing

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