• David Haye has not fought since he beat Dereck Chisora in 2012
• He suffered a serious shoulder injury preparing for Tyson Fury in 2013
• The former heavyweight champion insists he is ready to make a comeback
• He wants to plot a route to eventually take on WBC king Deontay Wilder
David Haye insists his long-awaited comeback is still on and is already plotting a route to WBC king – and his old sparring partner – Deontay Wilder.
Former two-weight world champion Haye, now 34, has not been seen in the ring since he stopped Dereck Chisora in the fifth round of their thrilling clash at West Ham’s Upton Park back in July 2012
Since then, two fights with British rival Tyson Fury have fallen through, the second of which as a result of shoulder surgery that threatened to end his career for good at the end of 2013.
Then, last June, Haye revealed that he would fight on and predicted a return to the ring in the following autumn.
However he is still yet to re-lace the gloves and it has been suggested that he might never do so again.
But ‘The Hayemaker’ is adamant he will box on, has already set his sights on American knock-out artist Wilder and thinks a world title showdown within just 18 months could be possible.
Haye said: ‘Yes you will see me back in the ring. I’ve been taking it easy of late as obviously I had a bad shoulder injury so I needed reconstructive surgery on it.
‘That’s good now, I’ve got all the movement back and I’m banging harder than ever with that. I’m just surveying the land at the moment and seeing what’s happening out there.
‘The heavyweight division is looking as good as it has done for a long time. You’ve got Wladimir Klitschko still doing what he does, you’ve got the emergence of Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion, big guy, perfect record. He just had a great win and I was in Vegas when he fought Bermane Stiverne. He looked like the real deal, he really did.’
Haye knows all about Wilder having shared the ring with him during training back in 2013. Footage of that spar can be found on Youtube and, despite the big gloves and headguard, Haye appears to have the American in real trouble.
But it is the ‘Bronze Bomber’ who now sits on top of the world having beaten Stiverne to win the title, taking his record to 33 wins from 33 fights, with all but one coming inside four rounds.
Haye added: ‘He helped me out in the past with sparring so I know him very well and I think that has really spiced up the heavyweight division.
‘I think a great route would be to go to America and try to navigate a way to the WBC title. Deontay Wilder is a very good champion and if i start fighting regularly I am probably a year or 18 months away from being in a mandatory position to fight him.
‘I’m not stupid and I don’t think I will just jump straight in there. I think it would be disrespectful to the champions and a bit idiotic of myself to think that just because three years ago I could fight at a good level I can just come straight back
‘Not even Usain Bolt can take three years out and come straight in and expect to beat the world.’
It is almost four years since Haye lost a unanimous points decision to Klitschko on a rain-soaked night in Hamburg.
Since then, all seven of Dr Steelhammer’s fights have taken place in Europe. But Klitschko’s next outing, a defence of his WBA, WBO and IBF belts against Bryant Jennings, will be at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden on April 25.
‘It makes a change,’ Haye said. ‘In America things are starting to shake up and I think he’s realised by continuously fighting in Germany, only German people watch that.
‘Worldwide he doesn’t do great business and I think he realises time’s ticking and he doesn’t have many fights left in him. For the next couple of years he wants to really finish his legacy with some really big fights. If he has to travel he has to and he deserves respect for that.’
Haye was speaking at a visit to the Double Jab ABC in New Cross as part of Join In and England Boxing’s launch of ‘Backing Up Boxing’. Their aim is to drive more volunteers to help out at similar boxing clubs across the country.
Haye said: ‘All of my coaches when I was a kid, from the age of 10 to 20 were volunteers. They weren’t getting paid. Out of the goodness of their hearts they came down to Fitzroy Lodge in Lambeth and trained a bunch of kids.
‘Even if you don’t make a career out of it, there is so much badness out there on the streets on a daily basis. The more youth centres, boxing gyms and football academies, the more stuff we have for kids, stops them smoking, drinking, smoking weed, taking drugs. It’s a slippery spiral.