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05th Jan 2017

David Haye has moved closer to getting a world title shot in 2017

This could be the year.

Tom Victor

David Haye might not have fought for a world title for several years, but 2017 could well be the year he returns to the elite.

The London boxer has been on the comeback trail, beating Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj with ease last year, and will now face a real test in the form of Tony Bellew.

The compatriots are due to face off at the O2 Arena in March, and Haye now has the extra incentive of knowing that victory could well leave him in line to challenge for Anthony Joshua’s IBF belt before the end of the year.

Joshua will take on Wladimir Klitschko in a unification bout at the end of April, and victory in that fight will likely set up a meeting with Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev, but that isn’t set in stone.

As Sky Sports notes, the WBA is set on the winner of Joshua and Klitschko taking on undefeated challenger Luis Ortiz, and this could see the victor opt to vacate the IBF belt.

That scenario would set the stage for a title fight between the second and third-ranked heavyweights, as IBF  Championships chairman Lindsey E Tucker has explained to Sky Sports:

“Under our rules, it’s the two highest rated available fighters. Pulev who is sitting at No 2, he would be one of them.

“Whoever is sitting at No 3, they would get the first choice, or refusal, and we would continue down the list.

“Klitschko is No 3 and Haye is No 4. Theoretically yes, it would go to Pulev and Haye, assuming Haye was available and wasn’t contracted to fight somebody else.”

Of course, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First of all Haye has to beat Bellew, which is hardly a given. If and when that happens, we can start talking.