By Terence Dooley
David Haye has revealed that his heavyweight showdown with Manchester's Tyson Fury will now take place on February 8 at Manchester Phones 4U Arena. Haye was forced to withdraw from the original date due to a cut, but the former WBA heavyweight champion announced the new date on his website earlier today.
"News of the date in February is music to my ears," said Hayein his official announcement. "I was absolutely devastated this weekend, and felt as though I'd let a lot of people down. But now, with this new date, I couldn't be happier. My fans will still get the chance to see what they all wanted to see this weekend - they'll get to see Tyson Fury sparked out in a spectacular fashion.
"Sparring eight days before a fight is nothing new or unusual. I've done this before fights in the past and never had an issue. Also, look at the history books. George Foreman sparred and got cut eight days before his 'Rumble in the Jungle' with Muhammad Ali – causing a six-week postponement - and Sugar Ray Leonard sparred and got knocked down five days before his fight with Marvin Hagler, but still managed to go on and win. Foreman and Leonard are two of the greatest fighters of all-time, so if it was good enough for them, it's certainly good enough for little old me.
"Not only that, those guys were preparing to face the likes of Ali and Hagler, while I was preparing to fight Tyson Fury, a man whose greatest triumph to date is shedding a few stone on Belgium's Biggest Loser fat camp. These things sometimes happen in training, and to suggest I decided against wearing a head-guard, or that the cut was premeditated, shows a clear lack of knowledge and understanding. This camp was no different to any other, aside from the fact it ended on an unlucky and sour note.
He added: "Tyson Fury might start to get brave now that he's received a stay of execution – and he might call me names and accuse me of ducking him – but that will all be short-lived, I can promise you. After hearing the nonsense he has come out with in the last few days, I'm even more determined to expose him in front of millions. And only the possibility of getting another chance to land punches on his massive head and doughy gut has helped cheer me up.
"The cut will heal, the fight will happen next year, and the fans will go home happy. The only difference now is that Tyson. Fury gets an even nastier beat-down than he would have received first time round. Once again, I'd like to apologise to the fans for the inconvenience caused by the postponement, and also because they will now have to endure a few more months of rubbish spewing from the mouth of Tyson Fury. I had hoped to silence him for good on Saturday night."
It means that London's Haye, 26-2 (24), can now put last weekend's events behind him and concentrate on working towards handing his 21-0 (15) opponent a first professional defeat.
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