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Title: Heavyweight David Haye Thinks North Cyprus is Knockout
Author: The Blogger

 


David Haye finds peace before fight of his life against Wladimir Klitschko


British boxer tells Jamie Jackson about the importance of nice showers and why he now has the Turkish flag on his shorts






David Haye

David Haye (right) is in training for his heavyweight title fight against world champion Wladimir Klitschko on 20 June. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP



David Haye is five weeks away from the moment he has dreamed of since first pulling on his boxing gloves as a 10-year-old. But at the moment he wants to talk showers.


The boy from Bermondsey is ensconced in his training camp in northern Cyprus's Kyrenia, a sun-drenched harbour town surrounded by mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, where he is preparing for his tilt at Wladimir Klitschko's three world heavyweight title belts on 20 June.


Haye has built his own gym out here since defeating Jean-Marc Mormeck to become the undisputed cruiserweight world champion. And there was one particular specification he had to get just right. "We built it from scratch, everything I wanted we've got. I always said when you go into boxing gyms they have crappy showers where there will be bloody plasters on the floor, never any hot water and you don't want to [actually] take a shower.


"It's like you'd get hepatitis or something. One gym I went to in America, the shower was next to the crapper, directly next to each other and they expected me to [have a shower there]. It was disgusting.


"I went to a hotel in Dubai and I remember being in the shower and thinking OK this is the type – it had loads of space. I said to myself: 'One day I'm going to build a gym with marble showers, proper ones like you get in a real classy hotel.'"


And, having inspected the designated douche areas in his gym I can confirm they are indeed gleaming. Along with the speckless commodes there are bedrooms for Haye's sparring partners to recover from their punishment and a biscuit-laden kitchen, which is, of course, for guests to enjoy, not the main man.


Adam Booth, Haye's likeable manager and trainer, has family out here and it was this that originally drew the 28-year-old to the island. "Adam's father's is from northern Cyprus. We came out for a visit," Haye says. "I've visited Ayia Napa in the south and all that lot as a kid but I thought: 'I don't know – it's a bit of a holiday destination, all the lager louts,' that sort of thing.


"But it's completely different [here], somewhere to get serious about my training and really take it to the next level. You've got the mountains, the sea, all the food is organic and fresh – you can't beat it. And this is a private gym, no spies."


Haye is also, he says, left alone despite his growing profile. "Everyone's really nice and respectful. They shake my hand and that's it, they let me go about my business. But I'm never really out so it's relaxing. I've trained loads of different places – Tenerife, Miami, New York and London, and I've definitely got the right balance here."


Cyprus has a troubled history of violence between its ethnic Greeks and Turks which in 1974 precipitated a Turkish invasion when Greece attempted to take control of what is the third largest Mediterranean island. Haye, though, is careful to leave partisanship alone. "You hear bits and pieces but I'm not out here for political reasons," he says, though he is proud to sport the Turkish colours.


"Yeah, for the last three fights I've obviously been training out here and met some really nice people. As a sign of respect I stuck their flag on my shorts and it really did go down well. Everyone I see says: 'Thanks for doing that, we don't see our flag on TV, it just doesn't happen.' It's the least I can do."


Haye's ambition is to become heavyweight champion of the world, then, in time, one of the legends of the hardest sport. The 2.8 million Turks living in Germany, where he takes on Klitchsko in Gelsenkirchen in June, should certainly be cheering him on.




 
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