Former world heavyweight champion David Haye has announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 37.
The Hayemaker as he is also known Haye turned professional in December 2002 at the age of 22 lost his last fight in May to fellow Brit Tony Bellew, having also been beaten by the same opponent in their first contest in March 2017.
Haye’s professional career ends with a record of 28 wins and four defeats from 32 fights.
In a detailed statement, the Bermondsey-born fighter revealed the detail of the injury problems that plagued the latter stages of his career.
“In the past five years, I have snapped (fully ruptured) both biceps, my rotator cuff and my Achilles tendon. All four injuries were potentially career-ending and each of them required operations with months of intense rehabilitation,” Haye said in a statement.
“The biggest physical challenge I had to face, however, was a spinal surgery in March 2015. I herniated a disc in my lower back 10 years ago and years of intense training wore this disc away. This caused fragments of disc to push into my spinal nerve passage, resulting in chronic pain and loss of function in both legs, and an operation was required to put a two-centimeter metal cage between two vertebrae and implant two metal rods with screws and bone grafts to fuse it all together.
“I went into surgery 191 centimetres tall and came out 193 – not a bad silver lining! – but literally had to learn to walk again. This made my comeback fight against Mark de Mori (in January 2016) all the more meaningful, as it was only 10 months after such intrusive spinal surgery (as well as being my first fight in four-and-a-half years).
“Ultimately, this was one battle I had to fight in private, and it’s only because the process was recorded for a documentary that people will one day be able to grasp the severity of the situation.”
Haye later added: “The boxing gods have spoken. They will no longer protect me with the freakish speed and power I used to possess. And without these God-given gifts, I completely lose my edge.”
Haye will still be heavily involved in boxing, however, having founded his own boxing promotional firm – Hayemaker Promotions – back in 2008.