David Haye will make the second defence of his WBA heavyweight title against domestic rival Audley Harrison in November.
The former friends will clash on November 13 at Manchester’s MEN Arena as 2000 Olympic champion Harrison looks to achieve his unlikely ambition of becoming a professional world champion.
Having failed to agree a unification showdown with either of the Klitschko brothers, Bermondsey fighter Haye was short of viable alternative opponents.
While 38-year-old Harrison’s credentials are questionable, the fight is likely to make good money in Britain while ’A-Force’ also boosted his reputation with a late knockout of Reading’s Michael Sprott earlier this year in a fight he had been losing clearly.
Haye, meanwhile, has yet to secure a dream fight against either WBC champion Vitali Klitschko or his brother Wladimir, the WBO and IBF holder. Poland’s Tomasz Adamek was the most credible challenger but Harrison was always a more financially viable option.
Harrison has flattered to deceive since turning professional nine years ago, fighting a string of knockover opponents before being defeated by the likes of Danny Williams, Dominick Guinn, Sprott and Martin Rogan.
Despite those setbacks, Harrison never conceded defeat in his quest to challenge for a world title despite being widely mocked by the boxing public. Victory in the ’Prizefighter’ tournament last year secured him a European title shot against Sprott which he took in dramatic fashion, knocking his countryman out in the 12th round to collect his first genuine title, which he subsequently relinquished due to injury sustained in the fight.
Haye agrees with the common consensus that Harrison lacks credibility as a challenger.
“I don’t think he deserves to fight me,” said the 29-year-old.
“I don’t think he’s done enough in his career – but I’m happy to do my duty for the British people.
“The public want to see one final high-profile destruction of Audley Harrison, and I can assure them this will be the last time they ever see him in a boxing ring.”
Harrison countered: “If David Haye thinks I’ve taken this fight strictly for a payday, he is in for a rude awakening.
“After winning Olympic gold, I set a new goal to become a world heavyweight champion. David Haye stands in my way of achieving that goal.”