David Haye makes WBC move, gains eligibility for Deontay Wilder

Richard Pelham

Former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has positioned himself to be considered as a future challenger to current WBC title holder Deontay Wilder in the WBC rankings.

The World Boxing Council announced their latest ratings list last week and Haye is ranked at number 12 by the organisation. Under WBC rules, ‘The Hayemaker’ is now able to challenge Wilder with approval by the WBC Board of Governers as per section 3.3 of the regulations.

Undefeated Wilder has mandatory duties to fulfil against Alexander Povetkin, or indeed a unification with fellow-Al Haymon fighter and IBF belt holder Charles Martin, but could conceivably choose Haye for his next voluntary defense.

Haye himself fights again on May 21 in London, England in a bid to secure a third straight victory on the back of his winning return from exile against Mark De Mori last month.

The Londoner is already placed in the WBA top ten due to his first round knockout of the Australian but has little chance of gaining a shot at unified champion Tyson Fury. Haye pulled out of two bouts with Fury before suffering a career-threatening shoulder injury and Fury has made it common knowledge that he will have nothing to do with the 35 year-old in future.

That leaves Haye with no option but to go the WBC route, and the big-puncher may well be in line to challenge Wilder or whoever holds the coveted green belt by the back end of 2016. Another win in the spring, dependent on the opposition, should see Haye break to WBC’s own top ten and edge that much closer to number two-rated UK rival Anthony Joshua.

It’s no secret Haye is eyeing a Wembley showdown with Joshua in the next eighteen months, so improving his ranking makes it all the more likely that the Brit pair could land a final eliminator to force Wilder’s hand.

Joshua has been in talks for a potential IBF title shot against Charles Martin on April 9, meaning Haye would need to fight somebody highly regarded by the International Boxing Federation to then be considered as a voluntary for the Olympic gold medallist should he snatch the crown from the American (provided a deal is agreed).

The winner of Ruslan Chagaev v Lucas Browne could also come into play which would hand the knockout artist the opportunity to win back his old strap, although the WBA have already set a championship tournament in motion that essentially freezes Haye out for the time being.