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World Champion Boxer To Pursue Poker Career In Retirement

Heavyweight David Haye Says He'll Study For A Full Year


British boxing champion David Haye is all in on poker.

In the wake of a recent retirement announcement after back-to-back TKO losses, Haye said that he’s partnering with a local casino operator to learn and promote the game of poker. Haye will commit to 12 months of study in preparation for a 2019 small-stakes poker tournament.

Haye intends to compete at an annual poker festival called the “Goliath” held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. The event is run by Grosvenor Casinos.

In a press conference, the former heavyweight admitted that he’s “pretty poor” at poker right now.

“In sport, if you’re sometimes bigger and stronger than other people, that’s enough to get you by,” he said. “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," he continued. “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.”

Hayes, 37, intends to work with the likes of professional poker players Jeff Kimber, Katie Swift and Joe Beevers to improve his poker game. Haye’s announcement came just days after poker pro Antonio Esfandiari and world-renowned comedian Kevin Hart, a poker enthusiast, agreed to gamble on a boxing match slated for early next year.

Haye, who joins a long list of former and current professional athletes who have ventured into the game of poker, said that he doesn’t want to “embarrass myself in a year’s time.”

“Everyone is thinking I don’t have a chance," he said. "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.”

Here’s a short promotional video for the 28-4 boxer’s foray into poker.



12 months ago

He should be really good at finding the softest poker games, and avoiding the really tough ones, much like in boxing, where he constantly avoided tough competition while beating bad opponents. Welcome to poker, David 'the Ducker' Haye!