David Haye knocks out Mark De Mori on return to ring

David Haye marked his return to the boxing ring with a typically-clinical first-round knockout of the overmatched Mark de Mori at London's 02 Arena.

David Haye leaves Mark De Mori sprawled on the canvas
David Haye leaves Mark De Mori sprawled on the canvas

The former WBA heavyweight champion, fighting for the first time after a three-and-a-half year absence and a career-threatening shoulder injury, secured what was a routine victory two minutes and 11 seconds into his comeback.

A powerful right hand and untidy combination sent De Mori straight to the canvas - and he was unable to respond to referee Robert Williams' count.

His limited opponent, among the least threatening of Haye's professional career, had already wildly missed and taken several punches, and unsurprisingly was unable to take his power - like 24 others before him.

The swift nature of the result and De Mori's obvious shortcomings revealed little about the abilities Haye may or may not retain, showing only that he is capable of overcoming underwhelming opposition and not whether he is ready for the big fights he will likely demand.

As is often the case for a once world-class fighter making a comeback, the threat posed to Haye came only in what he may no longer be able to do, and not in how his opponent was capable of challenging him.

De Mori proved as one-dimensional, predictable and sluggish as expected, and to the extent that even if Haye was struggling with ring-rust or his timing, or if at 35 his reflexes are no longer as exceptional as they once were, there was little the Australian could do to expose him.

Weighing in at a career-heavy 16st 3lb 5oz in the belief that his greater size would prevent the recurrence of injuries, Haye certainly appeared slower, though how much urgency he was fighting with was in doubt.

De Mori, at 17st 5lbs 8oz like many of Haye's heavyweight opponents more than a stone heavier, lacked the range, mobility or skill-set to trouble him - and even with Haye far from aggressive it became clear he would struggle to last.

Haye had already landed with promising right hands - and evaded another - before the biggest shook De Mori to the extent that an unconvincing follow up of lefts and rights concluded the easiest night's work of his decorated career.

Assuming his shoulder, or indeed any other part of his bigger physique, shows no negative reaction to the short-lived fight, it is likely Haye's profile - already strong enough to impressively attract 16,000 fans despite the one-sided nature of the match-up - will imminently lead to a more significant fight.

He has targeted the promising Anthony Joshua before the year's end, but would unquestionably benefit from a further and more substantial test before then.

"Tyson Fury is pretty clear about not wanting to fight me," Haye said when asked about his domestic rival and the WBA and WBC heavyweight champion immediately after the bout.

"I said I'll work my way up the rankings, and he said he'd relinquish the belts instead of fight me so why bother (pursuing him)?

"Why not go for bigger, better fights? A bigger fight's Anthony Joshua. I believe that fight can be made later on in the year. I'm in shape, I'm punching hard. I'm a little bit older. It'll make for a great fight. That's the type of fight I want, that's why I'm back in boxing. It's the big fights, I need that.

"Fury's a good fighter. You don't go to Germany and do what he did (in beating Wladimir Klitschko). It's a shame he doesn't want to fight me but I think we all know why when you see power like that (tonight).

"I want to unify the heavyweight division. I set my plan out to do that many years ago and I fell short. I tried to come back against Dereck Chisora (before injuries sidelined me).

"I'm going to make a serious run at this heavyweight division. There are titles all over the place at the moment and it'll take someone like me to clean it up.

"This was always going to be my hardest fight: the first back after three years out, the unknown."

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