David Haye has announced his retirement from professional boxing following his second straight defeat to fellow British figher Tony Bellew last month.
The former WBA world heavyweight champion proved shot beyond doubt when, in their rematch at London’s O2 Arena, he was dropped three times before being stopped in the fifth round.
At 37, Haye’s punch resistance and once fine footwork has gone. He retires with a record of 32 fights, 28 wins, 26 KOs and four defeats.
“Never forget that boxing is the ultimate working-class sport, one that gives regular people from humble beginnings – like me, like many of you reading this – the opportunity to work hard and fight their way to a better life,” said Haye.
“And just as boxing gave me the chance to make my dreams a reality, I now hope my children do the same in whatever path they choose. They know from their father’s story that anything is possible with hard work, dedication and extraordinary sacrifice.
“Since October 1990, I have been a boxer. That’s nearly 10,000 days of eating and sleeping boxing, and now I’m ready to close this chapter in my life. This is not the end of my story. It’s simply the start of something new.”
His most memorable moment in the sport was winning the WBA heavyweight title in 2009 when he outpointed the giant Russian Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg.
He had previously recognised he would have no choice but to retire if he again lost to Bellew, a fighter who was a light-heavyweight when he was heavyweight world champion.
Haye kicked off his illustrious career as a cruiserweight and unified the division. His 2008 victory over Enzo Maccarinelli earned him the WBO title to add to his WBA, WBC crowns.
He moved up to the heavyweight division and took the WBA title in 2009 with a victory over Nikolay Valuev.
Haye went on to beat John Ruiz and Audley Harrison before facing Wladimir Klitschko in a unification fight in 2011, where he was criticised for his pre-fight antics before losing on a points decision.
Haye suffered a number of injury problems in recent years.