Brit Haye Boxes Clever To Take World Title
Britain has a new World Heavyweight Champion tonight as London boy David Haye showed great stamina to stand up to monolithic Russian, Nikolai Valuev, in Nuremberg. Not the most dazzling of bouts, Haye had to dance to keep the massive Valuev frustrated and wait for his chance to land a few punches. The points win was a slight surprise given the defensive nature of the movement in the ring. Valuev punched at air most of the night but Hayes was also pushed to land the key punches needed to convince the judges to pass on the WBA Championship belt. The final round took the fight, as the handslapping, Fred-Astaire-stuff of the first 11 rounds was blown away by a collection of blows which hurt the Russian.
There was much pre-fight trash talk from former Cruiserweight Champion, Haye who was immensely confident but had never fought 12 rounds at Heavyweight. Valuev towered over him and carried a huge 7 stone advantage but his bulk has made him the least entertaining of fighters – able to command the shape of a fight around the ring and take a huge amount of punishment. A veteran of 51 fights, there was really only one way to beat Valuev and Haye played his tactics to the max. Whilst it was touch and go that he had impressed the judges enough, the final round saw the lumbering Russian visibly sway under a sideswipe left hander from Haye that appeared to all but glance off Valuev’s noggin.
Not an exhibition of pugilism at its best, Hayes deserved the win. Disciplined, confident and stuck to a tactic that was at once both boring and effective. Valuev had to move and duck more to make things happen, spent most of the night punching at fresh air and ultimately was frustrated enough to let Haye in. David really did slay Goliath tonight. A shame Sky decided to play adverts between rounds – despite charging for the pleasure of watching the fight.
Congratulations to our newest World Champion – well fought David.
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