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Haye dismisses threat from Ruiz


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Newly crowned WBA champion David Haye says he expects to encounter little difficulty in his title defence against American John Ruiz early next year.


Haye faces mandatory challenger Ruiz after outpointing Russian Nikolay Valuev to win the WBA belt on Saturday.


"Ruiz is a good fighter, very under-rated," said Haye. "I don't feel I'd struggle with him in any way, though.


"He's pretty much the same size as me and I think I'd just be way too fast and knock him out."


Haye, 29, produced a superb tactical performance to win a majority decision in Nuremberg on Saturday to become the first British world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis retired in 2003.


Haye has promised that his next fight, in 2010, would be in London.


The Londoner's title shot was made possible when Ruiz stepped aside with the promise of facing the winner and while Haye is confident of victory over the 37-year-old former WBA champion when they meet, he is not underestimating his decorated opponent.


"He's not the most entertaining of former champions but he's won championships on several occasions and you don't do that through being a bad fighter," admitted Haye.


Should he defend his title against Ruiz, Haye is targeting a heavyweight unification fight next year with WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.


"I'm looking forward to cleaning up the division," explained Haye. "I said I want to be unified champion and the Klitschkos are definitely in my sights.


"This is the start of big things to come."


Haye has already seen one bout with Klitschko fall through and also pulled out of a June meeting with Klitschko's younger brother, IBF and WBO champion Wladimir, because of a back injury.


Haye also admitted he was open to the idea of a rematch with 7ft Valuev, who is 11 inches taller and seven stone heavier than the Brit.


"If he gets back in line and some good wins under his belt then yes," he said.


"I know everyone loved the fight and I'm sure he'll come with a better strategy next time. But so will I. So if the fight happens again, I'll be more than happy to do it."


Having being greeted at Stansted Airport by more than 100 fans after returning from Germany on Sunday night, Haye admitted he has found his new sudden stardom "weird".


"This time yesterday I was in my hotel waiting for the fight but now, boom, I'm world champion. I was expecting about 10 or 12 of my close mates here tonight, but this is strange," he added.


Haye, who was unable to wear his belt because it was being resized to fit him, sported a badly disfigured hand after breaking it in the victory over Valuev.


"It was like hitting bricks, but it was a small price for being heavyweight champion of the world," revealed Haye, who is set to have an x-ray on the injury "as soon as possible".


Prime Minister Gordon Brown led the praise to Haye on his victory.


"Congratulations to David Haye for his superb, courageous and determined performance in Germany last night to win the WBA Heavyweight crown - Britain's first heavyweight champion for six years," he said.


Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "It's great that in the run up to London 2012 we have the first British heavyweight champion for six years, something which can only raise the profile of boxing in the UK."



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