Former Two time Heavy-weight world champion David Haye has announced his retirement from boxing following back-to-back defeats by rival Tony Bellew.
Haye, 37, unified the cruiser-weight division before stepping up to win the WBA heavyweight crown during a stellar career.
But two devastating and damaging defeats by Bellew ended his hopes of regaining his world crown and, as first revealed by Sportsmail, has prompted him to hang up his gloves.
Haye was one of this country’s most devastating punchers but his 16-year, 32-fight professional career has been plagued by injuries.
Despite becoming the first British fighter to become unified cruiserweight king and later beating Russian giant Nikolay Valuev in 2009 to become a two-weight titlist, fitness problems troubled him during his 2011 loss to Wladimir Klitschko and later. cost him two fights against Tyson Fury. They would also continue to haunt him when he returned to the sport in 2016 after nearly four years out.
‘I’m happy, healthy, my family is financially secure so it’s a job well done,’ he said after announcing his retirement.
‘Thanks to boxing, I have been able to live my unencumbered childhood dream; a dream my dad, Deron, facilitated the moment he took me to Fitzroy Lodge amateur boxing club as a nervous 10-year-old,’ Haye added in a 2,000 statement on his website.
‘On reflection, my 16-year, 32-fight professional career was one of two halves.
‘In the first eight years, everything ran smoothly. I had 25 fights and became the first ever British boxer to unify the cruiserweight division… I then achieved my childhood dream when I beat WBA heavyweight champion of the world.
DAVID HAYE’S RECORD
WBA heavyweight .
If I had it my way, I would have fought as many as 16 times in the second half, the last eight years. But, unfortunately, during this time my faulty body only allowed me to step through the ropes on seven occasions – four wins, three losses – and often it was a fight just getting to the ring in one piece.’
It was these fitness problems that curtailed his hopes of beating Bellew first time round, when he suffered a ruptured achilles on the way to an 11th-round stoppage defeat.
But it was his performance in a second defeat at the hands of his Liverpool rival, on May 5 in London, that told him his time was up.
‘The boxing gods have spoken. They will no longer protect me with the freakish speed and power I used to possess. And without these God-given gifts, I completely lose my edge,’ he said.
‘For my fans, it must have been like going to support their favourite thoroughbred racehorse at the Grand National, only to see their stallion stumble out the gates like a sedated mule at the Donkey Derby.’