AHEAD of his grudge rematch with fellow British heavyweight contender Tony Bellew, former two-weight world champion David Haye has been training intensely in order to gain revenge on the man who sensationally stopped him in 11 rounds back in March. Here, Steve Broughton – who is a vital member of the “Hayemaker’s” training team – provides an inside look at the Londoner’s preparations for his December 17 date with Bellew at the O2 Arena in Greenwich.
What is your role in the David Haye camp?
I am [main trainer] Ismael Salas’ second, and oversee all the training for David and the Hayemaker Ringstar fighters. So on a day-to-day basis I schedule all the training sessions and then help Salas with punching and sparring sessions in addition to delivering the strength and conditioning sessions with the fighters also.
How did it come about?
Originally I was working for the McGuigan camp and performed a similar role as assistant boxing coach to Shane, and then delivering strength and conditioning sessions along with Daryl Richards, who was the other S&C guy there. I was with those guys for about three years, which is when I met David, as his comeback was under Shane McGuigan. I left McGuigan’s in December 2016, but Shane and I both still worked together for the first Haye versus Tony Bellew fight. After that I worked for myself for a while before David asked me to work for him full time, and now here I am.
Besides the change of personnel, what differences will Haye make to his training for this rematch?
Firstly, David arrived at the start of training camp in much better condition than he did before the first Bellew fight. He always trains hard, but this time he arrived with 11 weeks to go and already had a solid foundation. So we focus more on tactics and technique rather than fitness.
Secondly, and most importantly, I don’t believe there was enough sparring in preparation for the first Bellew fight. David obviously knows how to fight, as he’s been a professional for 15 years, a veteran of over 30 pro fights, winning multiple world titles in a couple weight of divisions. Despite having all this experience, Salas and I feel sparring is essential to bring a certain ring conditioning that no other training can substitute. What was lacking in the first fight – from David’s side – was rhythm, timing and distance-control. There are all aspects that can’t be improved without substantial rounds of sparring.
Salas made sure sparring was the priority in this camp, and with eight weeks to go until fight night, David had already sparred more rounds during this camp than he did in total for the first fight. Salas was adamant that skipping was re-introduced into David’s daily training routine, as it is something David hasn’t done for his past few fights.
Additionally, Salas has brought his Cuban flavour to the Hayemaker Gym, and David is doing lots of Salsa dancing and clever rhythmic footwork drills. Salas has amassed plenty of knowledge over his 40-plus years in the game and has many useful training tools. David is like a kid in a candy story everyday learning from his new teacher.
Outside of the above, I personally believe with the changes in David’s diet, mindset, recovery and sleep protocols, we will see a very different performance from him on December 17. If all goes to plan, it will be reminiscent of a prime “Hayemaker”.
Given the amount of injuries he’s suffered over his career, is it fair to say his body could break down again – before or during the fight?
I mean, it’s possible, yes. But it’s as likely as Bellew – who said he hurt his right hand in the last fight – getting injured. We are doing everything possible in this camp to ensure that he arrives on fight night injury-free. His doctors are extremely happy with how his injury has healed, and the rest of his body feels great. He’s 37 now and we are ensuring his sessions are tough enough that he gets the desired adaptations, but not so tough that it compromises his body. He doesn’t need to push his body to the limit every session, so we are taking care to make sure he continually operates at a high level but is recovering well between sessions. We are working on increasing his work capacity by steadily increasing the volume of quality work he does.
Was there any injury to Haye before the first fight?
David had niggles and knocks coming into the fight, but this is common to all fighters on fight night. I’m sure Tony was the same, as this is just part of the game. I can honestly say that none of us expected an injury of that nature to occur during the fight.
What was it like being in the corner when Haye showed extreme bravery round-after-round following the injury?
It was intense. Hard to describe. At first it was, ‘Does he need to be pulled out? Can he continue?’ Then after he went back in for the seventh and Bellew came forward, it was, ‘Can he stay in and survive?’ But David has great reactions and survival instincts and he was able to ride and glance a lot of the blows off of his shoulders and gloves. The difficulty was he couldn’t really mount any offence. But he wasn’t going to quit and I think he wanted to stay in and show he had that grit and resolve when the odds were against him, and I think he did that. That was a bad injury and I think he deserves respect for what he did.
What is your most treasured memory from your career so far?
I think it has to be either Carl Frampton winning his first world title [IBF super-bantamweight] against Kiko Martinez outdoors in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, or when he beat Leo Santa Cruz in New York. The first one was obviously a home event for Frampton, so the atmosphere and venue was electric. It was the first world title for him and Shane, and it was just an unbelievable thing to be a part of. The Santa Cruz fight was also great. It was a bit of history being 30 years after Barry [McGuigan] had held the same title [WBA featherweight], and a huge fight against a great fighter. Although I wasn’t part of the team at the time, it was great to see George Groves lift the [WBA super-middleweight] title in Sheffield. He’s one of the nicest guys in boxing and he deserves to be where he is now, so I was happy to see that.
What are your own ambitions in the sport?
I think to train some of my own fighters eventually and maybe win some world titles with those guys. I’ve been extremely fortunate in the apprenticeship I’ve had. Firstly with Shaun Holmes at Gloucester ABC where I first got started. Next I got to learn the pro game under 2016 Boxing News Trainer of the Year Shane McGuigan, where I got the opportunity to work alongside the likes of Frampton, Conrad Cummings, Josh Taylor, and most recently Groves and Haye. Now I’m working under Ismael Salas – one of the best coaches in the world – and am more involved with David, as well as Jorge Linares and the new guys coming through at Hayemaker Ringstar. So I couldn’t have had much better experience and hopefully I can take that and develop my own style and my own fighters one day.