Speaking ahead of today’s 10th anniversary of his famous win over Nikolay Valuev, David Haye discussed Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora
Today, November 7 2019, marks the 10-year anniversary of one of the more remarkable triumphs by a British boxer on away soil, but a feat which perhaps fails to generate quite the regard it deserves. The fact that David Haye himself ranks his outboxing of Russian giant Nikolay Valuev for the WBA heavyweight title only second on his list of overseas victories says a lot more about the value of the other achievement - getting off the deck to stop Jean Marc Mormeck in the Paris suburbs two years beforehand - than any negatives pertaining to the memorable win in Nuremberg.
Make no mistake, Haye and then-trainer Adam Booth masterminded the perfect gameplan, routinely outmaneuvring the strong but lumbering 7ft Valuev, punch-picking effectively even after Haye had injured his right hand and shaking the defending champion to his boots in the final round. Despite one judge inexplicably scoring a draw, Haye won a clear decision and became one of just two men - alongside Evander Holyfield - to add heavyweight gold to cruiserweight honours.
"After I lost my challenge to Carl Thompson, fair and square, at cruiserweight [his only defeat to that point, in 2004], and said I wanted to be world heavyweight champion, very few people would have thought that was a realistic expectation," noted Haye at a jovial media brunch I attended yesterday. Video interviews with Haye are available here. "Ten years after fulfilling my dream it still feels like I’m living my dream every day. Long may it continue."
Never a great fan of nostalgia, Haye’s focus quickly turned to the current heavyweight division and the fate within it of the man he now manages, former victim Dereck Chisora.
"War" picked up the vacant WBO Inter-Continental belt with last month’s dominant victory over David Price and is targeting that body’s mandatory contender Oleksandr Usyk, like Haye a former cruiser king. Haye believes the winner of next month’s unified heavyweight title rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua could vacate the WBO portion rather than meet Usyk next, handing Chisora, who has been sparring AJ in Sheffield this week, an unlikely chance.
"It’s another unrealistic target of mine but one I believe I can achieve," Haye enthused. "Chisora potentially has an opportunity to do sonething very few fighters in British history have done.
"My gut says the WBO will be vacated. Usyk is a tricky customer and I don’t believe AJ will want to fight someone who’s only had one fight in the heavyweight division and is not a marquee name. I think he’ll go down the [IBF mandatory contender, Kubrat] Pulev route, as it will be similar money to Usyk and less tricky.
"He can relinquish that WBO belt and Chisora just won a lesser WBO strap. Usyk’s people have been in contact with [promoter] Eddie [Hearn] about that fight. Chisora has that experience in the deep water at heavyweight that Usyk hasn’t. He’s living the life he never lived until a year ago. Now his family are secure his goals have changed and he’s talking about world titles and legacy."