NOVEMBER 7, 2009 will be forever be a day ingrained in David Haye’s memory, as well as a proud moment in British boxing history, as Haye claimed the WBA heavyweight championship from the gargantuan Nikolay Valuev in Germany.
Haye, a former undified cruiserweight champion, promised he would deliver a knockout against Valuev in their “David and Goliath” clash. Haye didn’t quite fully deliver in sending the 22st 8lb monster to the canvas, but he still left Germany as the newest British heavyweight champion.
The seven foot Valuev was one of the most feared champions in the sport, but Haye took on the challenge head-on, travelling to Valuev’s adopted German base, with the champion entering the ring in Nuremberg with a 50-1 record, having only previously lost to a prime Ruslan Chagaev.
Haye had a comparatively meagre record at 22-1, but his showmanship and confidence convinced some he would be returning with the title around his waist.
The Londoner put on a clinic on the night in front of an 8,000 strong crowd, moving in and out of range, with the cumbersome Valuev unable to even land one telling shot as the fight went on. Haye, who was giving away seven stone and nine inches in height, was outstanding and nearly had Valuev out, following a ruthless attack in the final round.
One broken hand and 12 rounds later, Haye was the champion, albeit on a disputed majority decision, 116-112 twice and a strange 114-114 scorecard, but Haye was the clear winner.
He went on to defend the belt twice, against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison, before losing the title to Wladimir Klitschko back in Germany. Haye beat Dereck Chisora in his last fight back in 2012, but a comeback has remained on the cards ever since.
Valuev, never returned to the ring following his loss to Haye, but the monstrous Russian will always be remembered for his part in the fight, as well as being one of the leading heavyweights of recent years.