David Haye feels bigger, better and ready for the WBC and IBF world champions later this year after an eventful night of heavyweight boxing on Saturday.
Hours before Deontay Wilder defended his WBC belt with a pulverising right hand to stop Artur Szpilka in the ninth round, and Charles Martin lifted the vacant IBF belt by third round TKO after Vyacheslav Glazkov injured a knee, Haye ended a three-and-a-half year exile with a 131-second knockout of Australian Mark De Mori.
The former WBA world champion troubled De Mori with a crunching right hook and then hammered him to the canvas with a flurry of hooks in front of a crowd of 16,000 at the O2 Arena in London.
The first round win was impressive while it lasted but Haye (27-2, 25 KOs) wants a sterner test of his capabilities before he steps into championship class.
Haye, 35, lost his WBA belt in a unification fight with Wladimir Klitschko in 2011 and had not fought since 2012 due to a right shoulder injury. Now fully healed, he is focusing on Americans Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) and Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) rather than fellow Briton Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs), the WBA-WBO world champion who says he has no interest in fighting Haye.
"Maybe two or three fights before a title fight and if the guys [Wilder and Martin] are interested," Haye said at a press conference. "You have the WBC and IBF champions, and Tyson Fury is the WBA and WBO champion. The division is wide open.
"It will be interesting how the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko rematch pans out. Lucas Browne fights Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA interim title [on March 5], so there are a lot of different options for me and there's no one dominant heavyweight out there.
"They [Wilder and Charles] will be looking at me and they will have one of two mindsets: I want to avoid this guy or I can go over there [to the UK] and earn some money.
"The crowd shows the pulling power I've still got. I genuinely didn't know how it would go, especially with it happening at this time of year."
Haye weighed in at a career heaviest -- 16 stone 3 pounds and 5 ounces -- ahead of facing Mori (30-2-2, 26 KOs) and insists he is feeling the benefits.
"I feel a bigger, stronger person. I'm not rushing my punches, I'm more patient, more experienced," Haye said. "I felt really comfortable in there.
"I'm a more dangerous force than I have been in the past. If you think what I was like in the past, times that by two.
"In years gone by I have dieted down to 15 stones because the consensus was the lighter I am the more effective I am. That may be the case but by boiling down to the weight I was getting injuries, I didn't have enough body fat and you could see how ripped I was. Now I'm focusing more on my performance than aesthetics. Maybe I was too worried about being ripped back then.
"I don't feel any slower than I did against Enzo Maccarinelli [for the WBC, WBO and WBA world cruiserweight titles in 2008, which Haye won by second round stoppage].
"I never anticipated boxing at 35, it was always my intention to be retired at 31. My ambition was always to unify the world heavyweight titles. I couldn't live with myself, I felt I had let people down and I want another run at it, a healthy run."
Fury, 27, out-pointed Klitschko in November and faces the Ukrainian in a rematch in spring or early summer but is also talking up a future fight with Wilder, who he confronted in the ring after the American's brutal KO of Szpilka in New York.
Fury is refusing to consider Haye as a long-term target after the Londoner twice pulled out of facing him with injuries in 2013.
But another Briton could be on the agenda later this year for Haye. British champion Anthony Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist who has KO'd all 15 professional opponents, is a possibility for Haye. However, if Haye continues to look destructive on the comeback trail then Joshua may not be risked against the former champion this summer.
But Haye intends a quick return to action while he waits on Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn to make an approach.
"I want to fight again as soon as possible," Haye said. "Three months' time I would love to get in there again with someone who can give me those rounds, but when someone comes to win it makes it easier for me."