Former two division world champion David Haye has given high praise to his former sparring partner, Deontay Wilder.
Wilder, who holds the WBC heavyweight title, will defend his belt in a rematch with Tyson Fury on February 22 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. They fought to a controversial twelve round split draw in December 2018.
Wilder has knocked out every boxer that he ever faced in the ring – except Fury, who was dropped twice in their first meeting but survived until the final bell.
According to Haye, he felt much harder punches from Wilder in sparring than from any other boxer in an actual fight – including Wladimir Klitschko.
“I truly believe he’s the hardest punching heavyweight ever,” Haye told BT Sport, according to The Mirror.
“I got hit by Wilder in sparring – and I’ve been hit by Wladimir Klitschko on the chin with 10oz gloves – but there was more effect from Wilder hitting me on the top of the head with 18oz gloves on and with me wearing a headguard.
“It wasn’t even clean, it was glancing, but I felt that more. I remember after sparring him the first time I thought he was going to do something. He was wild, he was all over the place but the power… No-one mentions his punch resistance but he can take a shot. I was giving him some digs; I’ve buzzed him a bit and he’s been back wanting more.
“Not only is it a good chin but his recovery is great, most people you hit them with one shot their legs go and they’re not the same. It takes a few rounds but he’s straight back on it. I remember thinking he can punch and he can take a shot so once he gets his technique up to scratch which it is now I knew this kid was going to be something very, very special.”