LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain’s former world heavyweight champion David Haye retired from the sport on his 31st birthday yesterday, ruling out future bouts with Ukraine’s Klitschko brothers.
“It has been my intention to retire from boxing on this day ever since I first laced up my gloves as a skinny 10-year-old,” Haye said in a statement.
“I’ve tried to be the best I can, fight the best possible fighters on their turf but even though I fell short against Vladimir I’m a two-weight champion, one of the best ever British boxers,” he told Sky Sports in his London gym.
Haye lost his WBA world title on points to Vladimir Klitschko in a unification bout in his last fight in July — a defeat he blamed on fighting with a broken toe in Hamburg.
On Tuesday the British Boxing Board of Control said the Briton was not renewing his licence.
“I know fighters who have gone on way too long. I’ve never wanted to be that guy.”
Haye also ruled out a rematch with Vladimir or a fight with his elder brother Vitali, the WBC world heavyweight champion.
The Klitschkos hold all the major championship belts in the division, but have said they would not fight each other.
“The fight is out of the question with either of the Klitschkos in the new year,” added Haye.
“I’d love nothing better than to knock Vitali out. They believe I’m just another challenger out there, good luck to them. Let them carry on fighting the guys they’re used to fighting.
“There’s always one more pay day but I’ve been pretty shrewd so I don’t have to fight. I didn’t have to fight as a heavyweight for the last three years, I could have retired after my cruiserweight days.”
Haye turned heavyweight in 2008 following a promise to his mum after a cruiserweight career that started in 2002.
“Heavyweight has got that special ring to it, I always told my mum I would be the heavyweight champion of the world. No one can ever take that away from me.”
Haye beat the giant Russian Nikolai Valuev in 2009 to clinch the WBA world championship belt.