Former heavyweight champion David Haye announces retirement
British boxer, 37, won 28 and lost four of his 32 fights since turning professional in 2002
Britain's former world heavyweight and cruiserweight champion David Haye announced his retirement on Tuesday following two successive defeats to fellow Englishman Tony Bellew.
Haye, 37, who won 28 of his 32 bouts, including 26 knockouts, unified the cruiserweight world division then was crowned world heavyweight champion in defeating the "Beast from The East", Russia's Nikolai Valuev, in 2009.
However, Ukrainian great Wladimir Klitschko took the WBA belt off him – after Haye had successfully defended the title twice – in July 2011.
Haye implied he was retiring after that defeat and on several occasions before that had pledged to leave the sport before he was 31, declaring: "That'll be 20 years of getting punched in the face, which is a long enough time."
Nevertheless, he kept on hoping for a title fight with Klitschko's brother, WBC champion Vitali, but ruined any hope of one with his set-to with Dereck Chisora at the news conference after the latter had lost to the Ukrainian in 2012.
His career never reached the heights again, and two resounding defeats by Bellew – the second one coming last month – convinced him it is time to hang up his gloves.
"I announce my retirement from professional boxing," Haye said in a statement.
"They say you can't play boxing. Yet, as I write this retirement statement, and reflect on my time in the sport, I can't find a better way to describe the ride."
Haye – known as "The Hayemaker" – said his career had been one of two halves.
"In the first eight years, everything ran smoothly," said Haye, who never really captured the British public's imagination like Frank Bruno or Lennox Lewis did.
Steve Luckings: Time for the 'Hayemaker' to call it a day after loss
"I had 25 fights and became the first ever British boxer to unify the cruiserweight division [WBA, WBC and WBO World Championships].
"I then achieved my childhood dream when I beat WBA heavyweight champion of the world Nikolai Valuev, the seven-foot-two, 150-kilogram 'Beast from the East', in a real life 'David-and-Goliath' match."
For Haye, that victory meant he had completed a very personal journey successfully.
"Lifting that World Heavyweight Championship meant I'd fulfilled a promise I'd made to my mum, Jane, at the age of 3," he said.
"It also meant I was the second boxer in history – after Evander Holyfield – to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight. That was an incredibly proud moment for me and my family and friends."
Updated: June 12, 2018 04:16 PM