New boxing champion third favourite for BBC award

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The Independent Online

In the wake of David Haye's victory over Nikolai Valuev on Saturday, the new WBA heavyweight champion has been made third favourite to be be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year next month.

"Having become Britain's first heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, David Haye is now likely to challenge fellow world champions Jenson Button and Jessica Ennis for the traditional end-of-year sports personality award," said David Stevens, of betting firm Coral.

Button, who clinched the Formula One title last month, is still the favourite, at 7-4 on, to top the BBC poll, with Ennis, the world heptathlon champion, rated at 3-1. Haye is at 5-1, down from 16-1 before his victory over Valuev, while Andrew Strauss, who led England to Ashes glory in the summer, is 16-1.

Boxers have traditionally struggled to feature in the BBC award, which was established in 1954, with only Henry Copper (twice) and Barry McGuigan lifting the trophy during its first 40 years. However, Lewis was presented with the honour by Muhammad Ali 10 years ago and Joe Calzaghe came out on top of the voting in 2007.

This year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be staged at the Sheffield Arena on Sunday 13 December. A shortlist of 10 contenders will be announced at the end of the month and a phone vote for the public held during the event.