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Posted: Thursday October 13, 2011 11:03AM ; Updated: Thursday October 13, 2011 11:03AM

Haye retires from boxing as promised

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LONDON (AP) -- Former heavyweight boxing champion David Haye retired on his 31st birthday Thursday, keeping the promise he made when he first took up the sport.

The British fighter's last bout was a loss on points in July to Wladimir Klitschko, who added Haye's WBA title to his own WBO and IBF belts.

"As the clock struck 12 last night, my professional boxing career came to an end,'' Haye said. "It has been my intention to retire from the sport of boxing on this particular day ever since I first laced up a pair of gloves as a skinny 10-year old.''

Haye said he had achieved the goal he set himself when he started out as a boxer - winning the heavyweight title.

"Ultimately, I fell short (by losing to Klitschko) but I won world titles in two weights. I'm one of the best British boxers ever,'' he said.

Haye started off as a cruiserweight, where he beat Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris to land the WBC title, before moving up to heavyweight. He won 25 of his 27 fights as a professional.

Haye beat Russia's Nikolay Valuev in November 2009 to capture the WBA title, successfully defending it against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison before the loss to Klitschko in Hamburg.

Haye denied his announcement was a piece of brinksmanship to lure Wladimir into a rematch or to fight the Ukrainian's brother Vitali for the WBC title.

"Vitali did show an interest in sharing a ring with me in 2012 but since that initial declaration, we have heard the wrong kind of noises from Team Klitschko, which has left me thinking there is little chance of the fight ever coming to fruition,'' Haye said.

Speaking from his gym in south London, Haye said the Klitschkos "see me as just another challenger out there but I know what I'm about.''

Haye said he plans to launch an acting career next year.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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