DAVID HAYE will next box on May 21 at the O2 Arena against little known Kosovan Arnold Gjergjaj. But at a public workout today he revealed he would fight American nuisance Shannon Briggs, who’s been pursuing him in recent weeks. “I’m fighting May 21, then I’m fighting Shannon Briggs a few months later,” David said. “It’s a fight that fans want to see.”
That could be seen as a distraction, given Haye is chasing down a big fight with the likes of new IBF ruler Anthony Joshua. David’s trainer Shane McGuigan said, “It’s up to me out of everyone, and David, to not allow him to overlook Arnold. He’s 29 wins, 21 knockouts, clearly a very good fighter because he’s been in the Klitschko camp a few times and brought in for the Tyson Fury camp as well. He’s clearly good in the gym. Whether he is amazing in front of the lights, with the small gloves on, I don’t know. But you’ve got to prepare for a really good fighter, possibly a better fight, a harder fight than Shannon Briggs. So we can’t overlook anything.”
The American is expected to box on Haye’s May 21 undercard. “Shannon Briggs could look terrible on the undercard and nobody wants to see him, then Anthony Joshua could be calling our name, these things change daily. So we can’t go and chuck all our eggs in one basket. We’ve just got to keep our eyes peeled and keep doing what we’re doing and looking good and I believe David, once he gets his opportunity, he’s going to showcase his skills and his new size and his new strength. He can knock anyone out, it’s about giving him the opportunity,” McGuigan said.
Haye welcomed Joshua to the top of the division, saying, “It’s a great boost to the British heavyweight scene,” but added, “It’s interesting now to see how he progresses.”
Haye believes he would be genuine threat to the new champion. His trainer McGuigan said, “Joshua’s massively improved, so don’t get me wrong, I think he’s never had a guy in front of him that’s small, good head movement but good timing and is pouncing in and hitting you with bombs. You can’t replicate that in sparring, you can get a big lump to go and spar and try and replicate Tyson Fury. But how hard is it to get a guy like him [Haye] to come in and spar you? They know the dangers of fighting David Haye and they don’t know what he’s got left. If he goes out there and looks terrible against Arnold, “The Cobra,” they’ll say great, ‘We’ll fight him next.’ If he knocks him out in two rounds, one round, if he knocks Shannon Briggs out in one round, if just keeps knocking people out, they’re going to stay well clear of him and wait till he gets old. But there’s no miles on his clock, he’s just an athlete, he gets it all. He’s learned his craft from being 10 years old and I believe I’m bringing a couple of things out and helping him maximise it. But he’s still hungry to learn and will to go that extra mile and put himself into position to learn. So it’s a hard one for Anthony Joshua to prepare for.”