Hayemaker has Abdoul in his sights

By Richard Doleman


Hayemaker has Abdoul in his sights

London’s big punching European cruiserweight champion David “Hayemaker” Haye will defend his title for the second time on Friday night. His opponent at the Altringham Leisure Centre, Manchester, England, will be the well traveled Belgian, Ismail Abdoul.

Since switching codes in 2002, Haye, 25, has amassed an impressive 16-1-0 record, with all 16 of his victories coming inside the distance. The explosive puncher from South London has eleven KO victories inside the first two rounds, and last December claimed the European Cruiserweight title from tough Russian Alexander Gurov. Haye made light work of the European champion laying him out cold within the first minute of the contest, a result that sent shockwaves through the Cruiserweight division.

Haye’s well schooled orthodox style, fast hands and thunderous power has resulted in many opponents turning their attentions elsewhere. This has provided team Haye with significant problems in securing a European rated opponent. “He (Abdoul) was one of six or seven fighters we offered this fight to, but the only one to take up the challenge” said Haye’s manager Adam Booth. It would now appear a move onto the world stage is imminent for Haye. On recent performances he appears quite simply too good for both the British, and European scene. His no nonsense approach in the ring has resulted in a swift rise through the world rankings, so swift in fact that the WBC have Haye as number one contender to face the Jamaican born American WBC champion O’Neil Bell.

Hayes opponent on Friday is the awkward and very durable Belgian Ismail Abdoul, 29. Abdoul, who boasts a record of 27-9-1 (10), previously visited the UK in 2004 as he faced off against another big punching Cruiserweight, namely Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli. Maccarinelli quickly realised Abdoul wasn’t there to be blasted away and changed tack to score almost a total shutout on all three scorecards. The Belgian fighter seemed content to spoil and smother most of Maccarinelli’s work, something Haye will want to avoid.

Abdoul will take great heart and encouragement is his durability against Maccarinelli. Haye’s achilles heel is said to be his stamina, something Abdoul should have no problem with. Abdoul has fought three times in the last nine months, each fight has gone the distance, with Abdoul completing a total of thirty-two rounds en-route to three unanimous points victories.

Haye’s only defeat came in his eleventh pro fight against the tough warhorse Carl “the cat” Thompson. During the fight Haye appeared to wilt following Thompson’s refusal to go down under immense early pressure. Haye threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at ‘the cat’ during the opening stages. But ‘the cat’ used all nine lives to weather the initial onslaught. A lack of stamina coupled with a lack of experience finally resulted in Haye’s demise in the fifth round. Haye completed seven and a half rounds during his last European title defence against Lasse Johansen. Encouraging for a fighter who has tried to shake off the ‘stamina problem’ tag acquired following the defeat to Thompson.

Haye has himself admitted that loosing the weight for Fridays fight with Abdoul has been a struggle. This is something which could weaken the champion should the fight progresses into the latter rounds. The aforementioned factor could also result in team Haye looking to move the Hayemaker quickly towards a genuine world title shot. “Getting down to 14st 4lbs is becoming a nightmare. I can only do it about three more times maximum. I just want to get the world title fight as soon as possible. The quicker I get it the better chance I have of winning it because the weight weakens me and it’s getting harder.” Said Haye.

Haye should be head and shoulders above Abdoul, and this fight could indeed end early doors. This is of course providing Haye can set his feet and land the type of shots that have resulted in early nights for so many of his other opponents. The flip side of the coin is Abdoul’s evident punch resistance and durability. His only knockout defeat came in the twelfth round of a fight against the Pole, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, fifteen days before Haye made his professional debut back in 2002. Abdoul will be hoping to drag Haye into the latter rounds where the documented weight loss problems could prove to be Haye’s downfall.

The Pick: Haye clearly now feels he is ready for World Class and what better way to demonstrate the fact than putting on a mature, workmanlike performance for the Manchester crowd. Abdoul to taste the canvas in the first. Haye to finally finish the job around the 6th or 7th round.