Haye sets sights on Joshua

David Haye is keen to take on Anthony Joshua as soon as he is ready, in what he thinks would be Britain’s biggest ever fight.

Haye will continue his comeback on May 21, against an as yet unnamed opponent, after opening 2016 with a brutal first-round stoppage of Australian Mark de Mori (30-2-2, KO26).

The former heavyweight champion (27-2-0 KO25) is back in training for a return to the O2 Arena and, by the time he has his second fight back, Joshua will have attempted to improve his record to 16-0 at the same venue, with the British champion due to be in action again on April 9.

And it is the “immature” Joshua who Haye would relish the chance to take on, be it later in 2016 or further into his comeback after three years on the sidelines.

Haye told Sky Sports News HQ: “I’ve said from the start I will do what I need to do, in terms of getting in line and working my way up the rankings if I’m not voluntarily given the chance to fight for a world title. This year…next year…I am easy, all I want is a fight the fans want to see.

“A lot of people have been mentioning myself and Anthony Joshua, and he’s a guy on the up, coming off his win over Dillian Whyte. People are talking about that fight, now or down the line. He obviously wants to wait a little while to get some more world-class experience, which is understandable.

“As soon as he feels ready, I am ready. I’m a former two weight world champion, former heavyweight champion of the world, I’ve got the experience, I’ve been there and done it – I just want the fights the fans want to see.”

Haye is now trained by Shane McGuigan, and McGuigan’s father Barry recently predicted on Sky Sports that Haye would “knock him unconscious” if Joshua was to take the 35-year-old on.

And Haye feels there are vulnerabilities in Joshua’s style that he could exploit at the moment, which might not be there as he adds to his world-level experience.

“I’ve won 25 of my 27 fights by knockout, and I’ve knocked a lot of good fighters out. Anthony Joshua – I believe I’ll knock him out and I’d like the opportunity to do that.

“He’s a little bit immature in terms of he has only had 15 fights, and hasn’t fought in the European and world level yet, but once he has passed those tests, I’m sure Matchroom will want that fight. It’s the biggest fight possible for British fans, everyone wants it and it would be an absolutely huge fight.

“Every boxer in the heavyweight division is potentially vulnerable if they get hit on the chin. Every fighter is vulnerable when they fight me. If my opponents make one mistake I’ll counter and knock them out – it’s what I do.

“Mark de Mori made one mistake and he was unconscious for five minutes. If Anthony Joshua makes a mistake he will be unconscious for five minutes.

“He is very highly ranked, in the top three in the world by a lot of the bodies, so it’s hard to be ranked and thinking about world titles and then say he’s not ready to fight me.

“I don’t think it would be a bad thing if he was to lose to me, I lost a fight in my 11th fight and I came back and learned from it, and rebuilt. Sometimes you need a loss to get where you want to get to. He’d probably be the underdog against me at this moment, but maybe he’s going to wait and get some experience.

“I’m not getting any younger, I’m 35 and I want the big fights…and so does he. I’d hate for him to go down the wrong path and lose a split decision to some guy in another country trying to get a title and miss out on a big fight. It would be the biggest British fight, I think ever. Bigger than Frank Bruno versus Lennox Lewis, for sure even if it wasn’t for a title.

“People want to see good competitive fights where you don’t really know what is going to happen, and you can make an argument for both of us winning. That’s what makes boxing so exciting.”