Free-to-air channel Dave has landed the UK rights for former boxing world champion David Haye’s long-awaited comeback fight at The O2 on January 16 .
Bermondsey boxer Haye, the former world champion in two different weight categories, is returning to professional boxing with a heavyweight bout against Australia’s Mark De Mori in a clash called Haye Day.
Haye’s comeback fight will be his first since defeating Dereck Chisora at Upton Park over three years ago. His opponent is a top 10 WBA ranked heavyweight who has a record of 30 wins (26 KOs), and only one defeat, since turning pro in 2004.
UKTV’s Dave is also showing a special half-hour preview show Haye v De Mori: The Countdown, the night before, on Friday, January 15, at 8pm featuring the build-up to the fight, the story of the preparation and the reason why David wants to stage a comeback.
The two-hour special (9pm-11pm) on fightnight will include highlights from the day’s boxing at North Greenwich's The O2 , live studio discussions plus all the action from the ringside.
The show is a move into live sporting action best known for the “witty banter” of repeated programmes like QI and Top Gear.
UKTV director of commissioning Richard Watsham said: “We are quickly establishing UKTV as a network able to handle attention grabbing live events, from the Python’s last ever performance - Monty Python Live (Mostly) For Gold through Really’s Halloween spectacular Most Haunted Live to Dave’s ratings success, the Red Bull Soapbox Race.
Our ambition continues to grow in terms of the variety and quality of our programming and appointment to view TV remains at the top of our wish list.”
Dave general manager Steve North added, “I’m thrilled to be giving our viewers a ringside seat to this hotly-anticipated boxing match and, with Dave’s own spin on the event, helping to show the sport in a brand new light.”
Haye said: “I’m so happy to be stepping back into the ring with my hometown crowd behind me. It’s been a long time out, with many ups and downs, but ‘The Hayemaker’ is finally back.
“I’m a young 35, in boxing terms, and still have my speed and punching power. I’m looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans at The O2 and I’m delighted that my first fight in three and a half years is going to be available free to air on Dave giving as many people as possible the chance to watch my comeback.”
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