Ex-boxing world champion Haye turns attention to the poker table

Former two weight boxing world champion David Haye is to embark on a poker apprenticeship, with an aim of competing in the Ricoh Arena held Goliath event next year.

Announcing his plans at a press conference at the stadium, located in Coventry, Haye is to spend the year honing the craft before attempting to win the world’s largest event outside of Las Vegas.

Outlining his immediate plans, Haye commented: “I come from the boxing realm and will be going into the poker realm.

“It’s about accepting the fact that I’ll be pretty poor, that every single person I’m playing with is better than I am.

“In sport if you’re sometimes bigger and stronger than other people, that’s enough to get you by. But I can’t use my physicality to fast track me.

“It’s not about how quick I am or my reflexes. It’s about learning the bread and butter of poker correctly from the very beginning.

“My biggest challenge is facing that, opening my arms and saying ‘help me, give me as much knowledge as you can’. I can’t rush.

“Right now I don’t know the rules of poker and that means I can learn the foundations from the best and move forward quickly. I’m such a novice so I have to focus on the fundamentals.

“I don’t want to embarrass myself in a year’s time. That’s not why I’m here. I want to sit down with confidence and will enter the tournament to win.

“Everyone is thinking I don’t have a chance. OK, keep thinking that, but I’ve always found a way to overcome stuff. I will use every fibre of my being to give credibility to what I’m doing.”

Despite acknowledging a distinct lack of expertise within the field, Haye is to be taught by three of the UK’s top professionals, namely Jeff Kimber, Katie Swift and Joe Beevers, whilst also working with actors, psychologists and mathematicians in attempt to “forge his own style”.

The 37-year-old, who retired from boxing following a second defeat to Tony Bellew, concluded: “I’m an aggressive counter-punching boxer, so not all out aggressive. I’m strategic, I wait for my spots. Nothing happens for a while and then bang, I throw a shot.

“I think I’ll be pretty guarded but when I see an opportunity for an opening, I’m going at it. I’m going to knock you out, take your hand.

“I thrive under pressure, I rise to pressure. Going into something cold has got the juices flowing. I’m champing at the bit for this new challenge.”