On This Day in 2009: David Haye stuns Russian giant Nikolai Valuev

The 29-year-old Londoner won by a majority points decision in Nuremberg.

By Press Association Published: 7 November 2021 - 6.00am
Boxing

David Haye

British boxer David Haye claimed the WBA heavyweight crown from Russian giant Nikolai Valuev on this day in 2009.

Haye won by a majority points decision in Nuremberg, winning the fight on two judges’ scorecards, with the other scoring it even.

The 29-year-old Londoner was giving away an incredible seven stone to his 7ft opponent, who was known as the ‘Beast from the East’.

Boxing – WBA World Heavyweight Title – Weigh In – Nikolai Valuev v David Haye – Mercado – Nuremberg
David Haye gave away nearly seven stone to Russian giant Nikolai Valuev in their Nuremberg world title fight (Nick Potts/PA)

But Haye made the lumbering Valuev look every one of his 36 years with his speed as he became the first Briton to hold a world heavyweight crown since Lennox Lewis retired in 2003.

“It’s a dream come true,” Haye said after emulating Evander Holyfield to become only the second former cruiserweight king to win a portion of the heavyweight crown.

“From when I was a baby, I said I would be the heavyweight world champion.

“I’ve fought the biggest heavyweight champion and caught him with big shots.

Boxing – WBA World Heavyweight Title – Nikolai Valuev v David Haye – Nuremberg Arena
Haye wore down Valuev with crunching body shots (Nick Potts/PA)

“I made him look like an amateur. People doubted my skills, but I did enough to win.”

Remarkably, Haye managed to delight a sizeable British contingent in a 10,000 crowd at the Nuremberg Arena with a suspected broken right hand, which trainer Adam Booth said gave way in the third round.

Haye was appearing to tire in the seventh round, but he came storming back in the eighth.

He hurt Valuev with a rigid jab before landing with a rasping right to the body and almost floored his opponent with yet another vicious left-right combination in the final stanza.

Boxing – WBA World Heavyweight Title – Nikolai Valuev v David Haye – Nuremberg Arena
Haye shows off his WBA world heavyweight belt following his points victory (Nick Potts/PA)

Haye, who was awarded the fight 116-112, 116-112, 114-114, became only the third Briton to win a world heavyweight title since Bob Fitzsimmons lost his crown to James J Jeffries in 1899.

He promised to “clean up the division” but, after making successful WBA title defences against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison, lost a unanimous points decision to Wladimir Klitchsko in their unification showdown in July 2011.

Haye knocked out bitter foe Derek Chisora in his next fight in 2012, but inactivity, injuries and two defeats to Tony Bellew saw his career wind down slowly.

At the age of 40, Haye returned to the ring in September following a three-year absence. He beat Joe Fournier on points in an eight-round exhibition – and immediately called out British heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.

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