Boxing: Haye out to prove credentials

It has been a disappointing year for British boxing with as many as 10 major shows suffering from late pull-outs or cancellations. But tonight, David Haye will meet the American Arthur Williams in arguably the most competitive and intriguing fight in a British ring so far this year.

It has been a disappointing year for British boxing with as many as 10 major shows suffering from late pull-outs or cancellations. But tonight, David Haye will meet the American Arthur Williams in arguably the most competitive and intriguing fight in a British ring so far this year.

Haye is unbeaten in nine fights and is only 23 - and yet he is prepared to risk his growing reputation, and his future, in what looks like a bad match against a former world champion at the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Reading. During the past two years Williams has extended a trio of leading cruiserweights and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that he is past his best - or, as they say in boxing circles, that he is "gone".

Williams won the World Boxing Association title when he was 34 and although he is now 39, like so many heavyweights and cruiserweights, age does not appear to be a problem for the Florida native.

"I've been matched in some dumb fights in my life but this is the dumbest," Williams said. "I was waiting for a world title fight but then I got the call to fight this kid Haye. It's fine with me but he has made a big mistake.''

Haye, in fact, has completed only eight rounds in total having stopped or knocked out five of his nine opponents in the opening round and he has never been beyond round four. Williams has lost on points over 10 rounds twice in the last 12 months against fighters with records of 16-0 and 19-0 respectively.

"This is the type of test that proper world-class contenders have. It is a tricky fight and not a joke fight but to be honest there are far too many pathetic fights happening at the moment,'' Haye claimed.

The nominal main event features the 27-year-old Newark fighter, Esham Pickering, defending his European super-bantamweight title against the unbeaten Spaniard, Juan Garcia Martin, and there is also a British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight title fight between Peter Oboh and Andy Lowe. But Haye is the real attraction.

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