Former world heavyweight champion David Haye has stuck to his guns and confirmed his retirement from boxing despite promoter Bernd Boente having stated that a future title fight against Vitali Klitschko was in the making.
Haye, outclassed by Wladimir Klitschko in a unification bout in July, has repeatedly stated he would quit the sport on his 31st birthday and signalled his intention to retire earlier this week by declining to renew his licence.
“I love boxing, I love training, but you’ve got to call it a day sooner or later,” the 31-year-old said. “Too many fighters over the years who’ve gone on way too long. Now’s a great time. I feel healthy, there’s no damage, why not?”
Haye denied his announcement was a negotiating tactic to help secure a 2012 megafight against Vitali Klitschko.
“If this was something I’d just come up with last week I could understand people saying that – but I’ve been saying since I was an amateur that I would retire on my 31st birthday, so this is the day,” Haye said.
Haye attracted scorn in July after blaming his unanimous points defeat to Wladimir Klitschko on a toe injury.
The Briton lost his WBA belt after the three judges scored the bout 117-109, 118-108 and 116-110 in Klitschko’s favour.
Former light-heavyweight world champion Haye, who has lost only twice in 27 professional bouts, first won the WBA belt by beating Russian Nikolay Valuev on points in Germany in November 2009.
He defended his title by stopping American John Ruiz the following April, and again against Britain’s Audley Harrison with a third-round stoppage the following November.