World champ helps the streets’
PUBLISHED: 11:57 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:20 25 August 2010
A CHAMPION female fighter hailed David Haye s sensational heavyweight world title win and praised his work as the sport s leading role model, writes Michael Adkins. Haye took the title from the 7ft 2in, 22.5 stone Russian giant Nikolai Valuev on Saturday
A CHAMPION female fighter hailed David Haye's sensational heavyweight world title win and praised his work as the sport's leading role model, writes Michael Adkins.
Haye took the title from the 7ft 2in, 22.5 stone Russian giant Nikolai Valuev on Saturday to become the sixth British champ and returned to the UK a hero a day later.
But Rebecca Donnelly, who is bidding to be included in Team GB for London 2012, says it is not only his boxing that is getting him noticed.
The 30-year-old Gravesham Amateur Boxing Club member works for the charity London Active Communities, which Haye supports.
She said: "There is no doubt this was an amazing victory for David and the UK but everyone is looking to him taking on Klitschko next year. That will be the fight of the century, win that and he will be a legend.
"But David is an amazing role model for youngsters and the sport and that does not always gets noticed. We both have a common goal through our sport and that is not only being the best we can, but helping to get youngsters off the streets and away from a life of crime.
"Both myself and David have done a lot with London Active Communities. It involves working with disadvantaged youngsters and boxing is one of the tools we use. David has helped out in the past and is a great patron for the organisation.
"Although I have never met him personally some of the people I work with at the charity have. There is no doubt he is a great role model and a cracking boxer who deserves his title."
Through her charity work Miss Donnelly, who was born in Bromley, works with two full time coaches from Fitzroy Lodge in Southwark, the club where Haye trained as an amateur. It was through that club that Haye became involved with the charity.
As millions tuned in to watch the historic win she admitted almost missing the fight as she was training at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield. She was among scores of boxers who attended as part of ongoing assessment for inclusion in 2012's Team GB.
The 60kg weight division fighter added: "We were all huddled round the radio and then a laptop trying to watch the fight. It wasn't ideal but we managed to see the last few rounds. Some of the best fighters expected to compete at 2012 and their coaches were all squeezed round cheering him on.
"It was such a relief when he won. This guy he fought is big, a man mountain and David broke his hand maybe on the third round but had to keep battering him.
"To be honest I thought Valuev could have given a better performance. His fist covers David's face when it's clenched, but he was outperformed. I thought he (Valuev) was going down, he was all over the place."
Speaking about her Olympic bid, she added: "This is just the first phase of many. It's like X-Factor, there's a long way to go but I'm determined to be there."
Ten fighters in the 60kg category will battle it out for three places in Team GB, from which one will finally be selected to compete.
Haye's next opponent is mandatory challenger American Johnny Ruiz, thought to be at London's O2 Arena in spring. His real target is the Ukrainian WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.