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David Haye insists boxing is GOOD for Derek Chisora’s health as he blasts retirement talk

David Haye has emphatically swatted away any suggestion that his former rival Derek Chisora should retire in the near future amid concerns over the British heavyweight’s long-term health. 

‘Del Boy’, who has suffered three defeats on the spin, first to Oleksandr Usyk and second a pair of losses to Joseph Parker, fights Kubrat Pulev in what is expected to be another grueling match-up this weekend in a headline bout at the O2 Arena. 

Another bloody defeat would be damaging not only to the heavyweight’s aspirations at the top-end of the division, but also to his ageing frame, with the 38-year-old heading into his 45th bout, having turned professional some 15 years ago. 

David Haye (centre) has blasted the idea Derek Chisora should retire in the near future 

Del Boy fights fellow veteran heavyweight Kubrat Pulev (right) this weekend at the O2 Arena

Del Boy fights fellow veteran heavyweight Kubrat Pulev (right) this weekend at the O2 Arena

Chisora has remained adamant throughout the build-up to the bout that he will not hang up his gloves regardless of the outcome, also insisting he only wants the biggest, most entertaining fights as he looks to appease his ever-loyal fans. 

Many of those fans have implored the heavyweight to call it a day, however, worried a war-hungry Chisora will receive unnecessary and perhaps irreversible damage if he fights on too long. 

Haye, who claimed a stunning knockout victory over Chisora in 2012, before briefly managing his former foe, believes otherwise, however, insisting remaining in the sport will actually prove beneficial to his health. 

‘I think it’s actually the opposite,’ Haye told reporters, asked whether Chisora’s continued involvement is a bad advertisement for boxing, given the increasing awareness around the long-term health complications fighters can go on to suffer later in life. 

‘I think it’s a good advertisement that he is losing but he’s still got the fans coming to see him, still supporting him. That’s the important thing. It would be worse for him to retire and start drinking and smoking. He would die a lot quicker doing that. 

Haye claimed a stunning knockout win over Chisora in their grudge match back in 2012

Haye claimed a stunning knockout win over Chisora in their grudge match back in 2012 

Chisora was beaten on points by Usyk in 2020

Parker then defeated Chisora twice, both on points

Chisora was more recently defeated by both Oleksandr Usyk (left) and Joseph Parker (right)

‘Boxing keeps him healthy: it keeps him looking at his nutrition and having brain scans once a year. How many people go and get a brain scan to make sure they’re tip-top? Very few. 

‘The British Boxing Board of Control have got stringent medical procedures in place to be able to box. He’s checked and cleared, and if there are any signs of changes in his brain from one year to the next, he wouldn’t have a licence. 

‘As far as I’m aware, he’s a good advertisement for a fighter in their twilight years – make money, supporting his family and doing what they love to do.’

Haye insists any decision over retirement should be made solely by the fighter, but concedes Chisora likely won’t call it a day until he suffers a genuinely one-sided beating. 

The veteran has 12 defeats on his 44-fight record, but many of those, including against the likes of Usyk and in his first defeat to Dillian Whyte, have come in closely-contested encounters.   

Haye himself acknowledges he went on too long in his career, only accepting it was over following his second defeat to rival Tony Bellew, and the 41-year-old believes Chisora may require a similar loss before he finally hangs up his gloves. 

Chisora was emphatically stopped by Dillian Whyte in their second encounter in 2018

Chisora was emphatically stopped by Dillian Whyte in their second encounter in 2018

But Haye insists Chisora won't call it a day until he suffers another genuinely one-sided loss

But Haye insists Chisora won’t call it a day until he suffers another genuinely one-sided loss

Haye's moment of realisation came in his stoppage defeat to rival Tony Bellew in 2018

Haye’s moment of realisation came in his stoppage defeat to rival Tony Bellew in 2018

‘I don’t believe Derek’s the type of character to voluntarily retire; he’s going to have to get beaten,’ Haye said. ‘He’s going to have to be in a position where he’s never been before, and that’s being totally outclassed. 

‘The closest he’s got to that was maybe his second fight with Tyson Fury. After that fight I can understand some people saying he should retire, because he didn’t really have any success. But since then, he’s had back-to-back close fights. 

‘The unified heavyweight champion of the world [Usyk], he pushed him close two fights ago. Should that person retire? I don’t believe he should. He’s got plenty more in the tank. When there’s no more in the tank, you’ll see it because he’ll get knocked out. 

‘At the moment, he’s not getting knocked out, he’s actually pushing elite heavyweights to the absolute limit. It’s crazy talking about retiring.’

Though Haye and Chisora have now parted ways, the Haymaker insists they still remain close friends with the pair in regular contact. 

Few would have anticipated such a friendship after the pair brawled at a press conference following the Chisora’s defeat to Vitali Klitschko, which saw both fighters stripped of their British boxing licences. 

Few would have anticipated a friendship between the pair after they brawled at a press conference following the Chisora's defeat to Vitali Klitschko

Few would have anticipated a friendship between the pair after they brawled at a press conference following the Chisora’s defeat to Vitali Klitschko

Haye and Chisora had to be separated by a fence at press conferences in build-up to their fight

Haye and Chisora had to be separated by a fence at press conferences in build-up to their fight

Yet, their partnership proved fruitful, with Chisora headlining four Sky Sports Box Office shows and re-establishing himself as a firm fan favourite. 

Similarly to their unlikely friendship, Haye admits he didn’t anticipate Chisora would become the household name he now is among British boxing fans. 

‘Not in a million years did I think, first off, that he’d be fighting 10 years later [following their fight],’ he said. ‘With his style, the way he fights, I thought you can’t have that come-forward style for that long. 

‘He’s proved me wrong; he’s made of very tough stuff, and the fans adore him. He’s a representation of everyone. 

‘He may not be the fastest heavyweight or the most skilled, but when the bell rings he’s got the most heart, bags and bags of courage and balls, and that’s what connects the fans. 

‘He’s willing to get in with tough opposition time and time again. He’s not looking for gimme fights; he just wants the biggest fights. The bigger the fight, the more he’s up for it, the harder he trains, the more he fires himself up. 

‘He wanted this Pulev fight, which, on paper, is a very tough fight. But that’s Derek. He wants the big prize, to leave behind a big legacy and give the fans the fights they want.’

Pulev defeated 'Del Boy' by split-decision when the long-term rivals first fought back in 2016

Pulev defeated ‘Del Boy’ by split-decision when the long-term rivals first fought back in 2016

But Haye is convinced his former foe and now friend will emerge victorious on Saturday night

But Haye is convinced his former foe and now friend will emerge victorious on Saturday night

Retirement talk will be quashed entirely if Chisora does prove successful on Saturday night, with victory catapulting him back into top-level contention. 

Haye, who believes Chisora has improved since his defeat to Pulev in 2016, while insisting the same can’t be said for Pulev, says the Briton will indeed emerge victorious. 

‘I think he’ll stop Pulev late,’ he said. ‘I think he’ll get close to him, take away his jab and grind him down with a very impressive body assault. I don’t think Pulev likes it downstairs. 

‘A lot of these big, high-hand guys, they’re not used to it to the body because they keep you away with the jab. Body wise, he won’t be as conditioned as Derek is. 

‘I think, in a very exciting fight, he’ll grind Pulev down. He’s going to take some stick, don’t get me wrong, but he’s going to walk through the stick and he’s going to dish out his own.’

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