Former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye, instead of setting a date for a bout with one of the Klitschko brothers, announced his retirement from competition.
The British fighter, who celebrated his 31st birthday on October 13, told Sky Sports that he planned to give up boxing on this day, since he first appeared in the gym at the age of 10.
“I’ve tried to be the best I can, fight the best possible fighters on their turf, but even though I fell short against Vladimir, I’m a two-weight champion, one of the best-ever British boxers,” he said.
Haye beat the 2.13-meter-tall Nikolay Valuev of Russia in 2009 to clinch the WBA world championship belt, which he gave away to Vladimir Klitschko in a unification bout this in July.
It was his last appearance in the ring. On Tuesday, the British Boxing Board of Control was informed that Haye was not renewing his license.
“I know fighters who have gone on way too long,” he said. “I’ve never wanted to be that guy.”
Despite saying he’d “love nothing better than to knock Vitaly out,” the Briton ruled out the possibility of ever facing any of the Klitschko brothers again.
“There’s always one more pay day, but I’ve been pretty shrewd, so I don’t have to fight,” Haye stressed. “I didn’t have to fight as a heavyweight for the last three years; I could have retired after my cruiserweight days.”
Haye switched to the heavyweight division in 2008 following a promise to his mother after a successful cruiserweight career that started in 2002.
“Heavyweight has got that special ring to it,” he said. “I always told my mum I would be the heavyweight champion of the world. No one can ever take that away from me.”
Haye’s record in the professional ring is 25 wins (23 KOs) and just two defeats at the hands of Vladimir Klitschko and Carl Thompson in 2004.