David Haye’s ambitious bid to return to the summit of boxing

Richard Pelham

David Haye has set his sights on becoming heavyweight champion of the world in the next year as he eyes a return to the top of the sport.

The 35-year-old retired from boxing in 2011 following his defeat at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in their title match in Hamburg. His decision was short lived however as he opted to return to the ring just one year later against Dereck Chisora after a furious battle of words between the duo.

Despite his subsequent victory, it would be Haye’s final bout for four years due to a number of circumstances, including a variety of injuries preventing him from fights against Tyson Fury and Manuel Charr. The 35-year-old made his long-awaited comeback earlier this year, and brushed aside his two opponents Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj with ease with wins in the first and second rounds.

Haye now faces the challenge of veteran fighter Shannon Briggs, and is backed in the latest Bet365 betting odds at 1/16 to triumph over the American.The Londoner will have a tough time reaching the peak of the boxing world however, due to the talent of the men currently at the top of the sport.

Anthony Joshua appears to be the next dominant star to emerge from the United Kingdom, with his impressive win over Dominic Breazeale taking his professional record to 17-0. The 26-year-old will have his opportunity to challenge for more titles in the near future with a showdown against Tyson Fury or Klitschko on the cards. As a result, Haye may have to wait his turn for his crack at the big time, while he has yet to prove himself against a high-quality opponent since his return to the ring.

The Londoner destroyed De Mori in his first match back in the sport, knocking out the Australian 114 seconds into the contest at the 02 Arena. Haye’s next fight squared him off against Gjergjaj, who had an unbeaten record heading into the match, but had never faced an opponent of the Briton’s quality.

‘The Hayemaker’ was dominant from the off by knocking the Swiss boxer to the ground in the first round, and his assault continued in the second until the referee opted to end the bout. He will face better resistance in his next fight against Briggs due to his experience, although at the age of 44 the American’s best days are behind him.

To reach the summit of world boxing again, Haye will need a stronger test before he even contemplates a potential duel against Joshua, Fury or Klitschko.He has yet to test his endurance since his return to the ring, with only three rounds under his belt. When at the peak of his powers, Haye displayed great stamina, claiming his most notable win over the Russian giant Nikolai Valuev after 12 brutal rounds on a unanimous points decision.

Should he rise back to the top it would be a huge feather in the cap of British boxing to have another top-quality fighter battling it out for the heavyweight crown. Haye may have one last effort in him to secure the titles he lost to Klitschko, but he will be forced to produce the best performances of his career to oust the leading stars at the top.