Former heavyweight titleholder David Haye will fight for the second time in his comeback May 21 at O2 Arena in London, he announced Tuesday.
On Jan. 16, Haye, 35, returned after 3½ years away from the ring, a layoff caused in part by various injuries that forced him to pull out of fights, and he knocked out Australia's Mark De Mori in the first round, also at O2 Arena.
Haye, a popular figure in his native England, drew a crowd of about 16,000 to the arena and a stunningly high audience of more than 3 million viewers for the fight against an unknown opponent on free British TV channel Dave, which was televising its first boxing event.
Haye's opponent for the May 21 fight has not been announced, but he suggested that Malik Scott (38-2-1, 13 KOs), of Philadelphia, is a potential opponent.
"After being out of the ring for so long it was incredible to be fighting in a (near) capacity crowd at the O2 arena in front of my loyal fans," said Haye, whose Hayemaker Promotions will put on the May fight card. "I'm thankful for all the support I've received so far. I felt so cool and calm in there. I don't believe any heavyweight in the planet could have taken those punches. Now is my time to prove they can't.
"The heavyweight division is once again incredibly exciting, with a number of talented fighters vying for the world titles. The Hayemaker is back and ready for the next challenge."
The fight against De Mori was Haye's first with trainer Shane McGuigan after parting ways with longtime trainer Adam Booth.
"David and I have been clear from his comeback announcement that it is with the single objective of reclaiming and unifying the world heavyweight titles," said McGuigan, the son of Hall of Fame former featherweight titleholder Barry McGuigan. "His first-round KO of De Mori showed there was no ring rust. We are keen to keep the momentum and build on his most recent win, with a short period of active recovery before going straight back into camp."
Haye (27-2, 25 KOs), the former cruiserweight world champion, moved up to heavyweight and won a majority decision against Nikolai Valuev to claim a world title in 2009. Haye successfully defended the title twice with knockouts of former titleholder John Ruiz and Audley Harrison before facing then-world champion Wladimir Klitschko in a 2011 unification fight.
Klitschko dropped Haye and easily outpointed him, with Haye famously blaming the defeat on an injured pinkie toe. Haye took a year off after the loss and then returned to knock out countryman Dereck Chisora in the fifth round in July 2012. Haye did not fight again until blowing out De Mori two weeks ago.