• Haye sends limited Australian crashing to canvas after 125 seconds
• ‘This new and improved version of me will win heavyweight championships’
If this fight was about making a statement, David Haye took just two minutes to oblige. Only 125 seconds were required for him to fell the hapless and hopeless Mark de Mori with a blizzard of punches, winning his comeback fight with a first-round knockout. Despite his primal howls of triumph, a little context is required; against hand-picked, patently inferior opposition, this particular statement should be viewed as little more than Haye coughing politely, ting-tinging on his glass and announcing his return to the heavyweight ranks after an absence of three-and-a-half years. But that’s all that was required on an evening when the 35-year-old former world champion, who had last fought in July 2012, claimed the shoulder issues that once threatened to derail any hopes he had of a return to the ring have been put behind him.
“The shoulder feels better than it has before,” he said. “I have spent two years rehabbing this shoulder. I feel this new and improved version of me will go on and win heavyweight championships.” His shoulder certainly seemed unimpaired as he set about his business here, demolishing De Mori with a truly punishing overhand right after a lazy waft of his opponent’s fist left room for a trademark Hayemaker down the pipe. It had followed a series of lightning fast combinations for which De Mori had no answer and the Australian finished tangled in the ropes with blood pouring down his face and in need of medical attention. After receiving oxygen, he was eventually able to make his own way back through the still swinging door of his dressing room.