Steve Bunce: How Haye has grown into a stellar talent

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The Independent Online

In 2001 David Haye became the first British amateur boxer to reach the final of the world amateur championships. Haye was stopped on his feet by Cuba's Odlanier Solis, but the silver medal was a sign of his potential.

His professional debut on the BBC took place at an empty York Hall on a Sunday afternoon. The early fight allowed Haye to sit next to David Beckham at the Sports Personality of the Year later that night.

He went to Paris in November 2007 to fight Jean-Marc Mormeck for the Parisian's World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association cruiserweight titles. Haye, a huge underdog, was dropped heavily before knocking out Mormeck in round seven.

Four months later he added the World Boxing Organisation version when he knocked out Enzo Maccarinelli at the O2. Haye decided to move from cruiserweight to heavyweight after the Maccarinelli fight and offers rolled in from Don King, Frank Warren and Golden Boy. However, Haye formed his own company, Hayemaker, and returned to the ring last November to knock out New York's Monte Barrett at the O2.

He was due to fight triple champion Wladimir Klitschko in a heavyweight world title fight last month but injured his back and withdrew. Klitschko defended against Ruslan Chagaev, but American broadcaster HBO pulled out when Haye withdrew, underlining just how much of an attraction the boy from Southwark in south London has become.