Former heavyweight world champion David Haye will make his return to boxing against Australian Mark de Mori at London’s O2 Arena on 16 January. Haye announced the news today at his press conference at the O2 arena, following the Brit boxer announcing his plans to return to the ring.
Mark de Mori is far from a household name but has built a small buzz and currently sits at number 10 in the WBA official Heavyweight rankings – he’s also fought a total of 33 fights and has only lost one. When asked about how he was feeling towards fighting such a renowned boxer like Haye he simply stated, “All great empires fall.”
When Haye was asked the same, he referenced that he was “having a few kinks due to his time off” and “shaking off ring rust”, but reiterated that can he can assuredly do the a job. The man given the task of helping Haye shake off this ring rust is the 27-year-old trainer and Coach Shane McGuigan, also the trainer of Carl Froch, he’s the son of former world champion featherweight boxer, Barry McGuigan.
The conference closed with the traditional face-off that lacked any animosity between the two fighters. Haye gave very little emotion away – looking unbothered by the affair – while de Mori tried to enter Haye’s head with some mockery jibes, which were hapless as Haye seemed unaltered. Once the ruckus had all calmed down we spoke to Haye ahead of his January comeback fight.
Are you glad to be back then?
It’s been on my mind for so many months, even years I’ve wanted to get in the ring and do what I want to do and that’s fight, but I’ve been carrying heavy injuries which are now fortunately rectified. It’s been a long time coming, but hopefully it’s worth the wait, hopefully you’ll see an improved Hayemaker!
I see you’ve changed trainers to Shane McGuigan, how did that come about?
I’ve had my eye on Shane for a while because of his work with Carl Frampton. I really liked Carl Frampton’s style, I see some stuff that I could use like his footwork and his punch combinations. As time went on Frampton moved up the ranks and won world titles, and won them in a good fashion – every time he moved up he would look better, and I guess that was with the help of Shane McGuigan. So we did a few sessions and we really gelled – we really understood each other, and we both believed he could really add something.
How’s shaking off the ring rust going? Do you feel different, are your reflexes slower?
So far my reflexes are fine! As you get older they do obviously slow down, but so far Thank God they haven’t slowed down at all. I feel faster than I have been, obviously I haven’t been in the ring for a long time, so I might feel faster, but that’s what this fight is about, it’s about me getting back in the ring and showing I still have what I had, but it’s up to the public to come and see for themselves.
You’ve been out for three years, what have you been doing over these past 3 years then?
I’ve been in rehabilitation, I’ve always considered myself a professional fighter even when I’ve been out with injury, it’s been frustrating but it was a good time to reflect on my career and why I was there, whether there was anything I could have done to prevent these injuries. When it was time to put together the new team, injury prevention was top of the list. So a lot of the training I do now is safer, not as ballistic and intense, but it’s a good place to be, I’m 35 now and I feel 26.
This Saturday is the Fury vs Klitschko fight, do you think after the fight, you’ll want to fight one of them?
Whoever wins that fight will be the new champion, the number one in this division, so whoever wins that fight, my guess is Klitschko, if that’s the case I would love to get in the ring and have a rematch with him, and perform to my full potential.
Finally, what type of music are you listening to at this time, getting ready for a big fight, trying to get your head in the game?
I don’t like to get too pumped up, I like old ’70s type of disco and funk, I’m listening to my soul reggae station, I love that radio station, they play all the classics!
‘David Haye takes on Mark de Mori at The O2 on January 16, for tickets visit axs.com. Follow @mrdavidhaye for more information. #HayemakerIsBack’