Top Ten: David Haye injuries

David Haye
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
As he prepares to fight Tony Bellew for a second time, a reminder that David Haye has had his fair share of bad luck with injuries over the years

As much as he’s synonymous with knockout wins and world title belts, David Haye also has a strong connection with injuries – whether picked up in training or in fights – and has had to battle through numerous setbacks during the course of his 27-year boxing career.

Here are 10 of his most famous.

10. Mark Hobson (hamstring)

Detail: July 2005. Haye withdrew from a British and Commonwealth cruiserweight title fight with Mark Hobson after a niggling hamstring injury flared up in a sparring session with Tony Bellew and David Price.

Haye said: “How many times, in the past, have you heard fighters after fights claiming the reason they lost is because they had an injury? It makes me sick. If you’re not fit to fight, then don’t fight. And if you do fight and get smashed, don’t use it as an excuse, because you’ve been compensated.

“I remember Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones, Jr. and Mike Tyson all pulling out of fights at some points in their careers but I bet if they were not financially secure they would have taken the fights.

“You have to look at the bigger picture. A postponed fight after my 14th bout means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Knocking Hobson out in the first round means f**k all in the grand scheme of things. It will probably put a smile on my face halfway back to London, but that’s about it.”

9. Nikolay Valuev (right hand)

Detail: November 2009. As if the job wasn’t tough enough with two good hands, Haye had to manoeuvre his way around seven-foot Valuev while mostly using his left.

Haye said: “I damaged my right hand in the second or third round and tried to rein it in, which is why I went with my left.

“The hand is very tender and very sore and that’s why I used it irregularly.

“His head is solid; the hardest thing I’ve ever hit. It’s like hitting a solid brick wall.”


8. Tony Bellew (bicep)

Detail: November 2017. While preparing for a December rematch, the injury-prone Haye, having recovered from an Achilles tear, injured his bicep during a routine stair conditioning session.

Haye said: “Despite the recent injury rumours, I was in perfect condition with an incredibly strong training camp, currently weighing lighter than I have for more than five years, and I couldn’t wait to get back in the ring. I was ready to rewrite the ending of the Haye-Bellew saga.

“Unfortunately, after a freak accident during a stair conditioning session, which I’ve done hundreds of times before, I lost my footing, slipped and instinctively grabbed the bannister to stop myself falling down the stairwell. In doing so, I managed to damage my bicep.

“This afternoon I underwent a procedure to repair it. This was pretty straightforward and my doctor and physiotherapist have no doubt that I will not only make a full recovery but will be able to be back in the gym to start my arm rehabilitation in two weeks.”

7. Tyson Fury (shoulder)

Detail: November 2013. Deemed a career-ender at the time, Haye pulled out on Fury for a second time in a matter of two months because of a shoulder injury.

Haye said: “It’s a crushing blow. I had big plans for next year and the ultimate goal was to win back the world heavyweight title. What I didn’t anticipate was that this year would be the unluckiest of my career and that a number of injuries would disrupt my plans so much.

“Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. The boxing gods keep hinting that maybe enough is enough and that it’s time to finally hang up my gloves.”

6. Commonwealth Games (bicep)

Detail: July 2002. Haye, then 21, and a favourite to win heavyweight gold, injured a bicep during a first-round win over Pakistan’s Shaukat Ali. He then went home.

Haye said: “I am very upset about this. Commonwealth gold was a big ambition for me and now it won’t happen.

“I’m going to concentrate on getting my arm back in shape to start training again as soon as I can.”

5. Manuel Charr (left hand)

Detail: May 2013. A low-key postponement for a low-key fight, Haye’s decision to withdraw from a Charr date with a damaged left hand paved the way for a much better fight against Tyson Fury.

Haye said: “I pick up injuries now and again in training, and sometimes carry them into fights, but this was one I simply couldn’t recover from in time. I need to rest it up for at least four weeks.

“I apologise to Manuel Charr and to everybody involved with the promotion. But most of all I want to say sorry to the thousands of fans who bought tickets to the fight. I felt it was important to let them know about the cancellation as soon as possible, so they can now make other plans.”

4. Wladimir Klitschko (back)

Detail: June 2009. Away training in north Cyprus, Haye struggled with back problems throughout camp and then announced himself unfit to fight 17 days out. Klitschko, his opponent, was informed of Haye’s injury while being interviewed by British media at his training base in Austria.

Haye said: “I’m obviously gutted. I was shadowboxing and my back completely went. I am just distraught about it.

“This fight in a couple of weeks would have been the pinnacle; everything I had strived for since I was a child. My whole boxing career, amateur and professional, was leading up to this one night and now it is not happening.”

3. Tyson Fury (cut eye)

Detail: September 2013. Seven days before Haye and Fury were set to meet, Haye announced he had picked up a cut in sparring and had no choice but to pull out.

Haye said: “Gutted isn’t even the word. Mentally, I’m on the floor at the moment. I know injuries and cuts are part and parcel of our sport, but this doesn’t change the feeling of disappointment and sadness I’m experiencing right now.

“To everyone who has bought tickets, booked hotels, and followed this fight since it was announced, there is absolutely nothing I can do except apologise from the very bottom of my heart.

“Even when everything seems to be right on track, sometimes life throws you a curveball. I will somehow have to try and make the best of this horrible situation. But, right now, I’m in bits about what has happened.”

2. Tony Bellew (Achilles)

Detail: March 2017. Haye’s Achilles tendon seemed to tear in his right foot midway through round six and left the pre-fight favourite immobile for much of the fight. He stuck in there, though, and played his part in a thriller, before being stopped in round 11.

Haye said: “It felt like my leg went into a bear trap. I looked down at my foot and I couldn’t control it.

“Big athletes have had the same operation and come back so I don’t see why I will be any different. Other athletes have come back six to nine months after this injury.”

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1. Wladimir Klitschko (toe)

Detail: July 2011. Haye, having lost the majority of the 12 rounds he’d shared with Wladimir Klitschko, stood on a table at the post-fight press conference, removed his shoe and showed the world his injured toe.

Haye said: “I might not have been at my best but I gave it as much as I could. I couldn’t push on my right leg to throw the right hand because I broke my toe on my right foot.

“I thought adrenaline would get me through it but it was tough. It’s incredibly frustrating. We were thinking about pulling out three weeks ago but we couldn’t with all these great fans here.

“It’s frustrating because I’m so powerful, but I couldn’t land many punches.”



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