David Haye says he is ready to face hot prospect Anthony Joshua after completing his ring return against Mark de Mori when the former World Heavyweight Champion returns to the big time next month.

Haye takes on De Mori in just over two weeks time at London’s O2 on January 16 but admits he would welcome a huge domestic dust-up with British and Commonwealth champion Joshua, who remains unbeaten in the professional ranks thus far.

The Hayemaker has been quoted as saying : “If I was to fight him, I’m sure there are people who would think that AJ would beat me and I love the thought of that – getting into a fight where people are not quite sure what happens but if I tag Anthony Joshua, can he take my power?

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“These are all things that are unknown. I think he probably needs one or two more fights before he would be ready for someone on my level but if he wants to do that before, let’s go for it.

“I’m a professional fighter – this is what I have been doing since I was a kid. I’ve got my fight against Mark de Mori lined up but once that is out of the way, then we can talk about it.

“I think he is looking to fight in April again, against maybe someone like Dereck Chisora who would be a yardstick and a good test for him. I knocked Dereck Chisora out in five rounds; can AJ knock him out quicker than that?

“Maybe… it will be interesting to see, but I think definitely in the summer or towards the end of the year, if that is a fight that Anthony Joshua would want, then it is a fight that can be made.”

Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua dispatched a rival of his own in Dillian Whyte with a hard fault domestic battle earlier this month with a brutal knock out of his long-time foe from the amateur ranks.

Haye went onto say “Anthony Joshua is a very good fighter who is unbeaten. He’s knocked out every single one of his opponents,”

“He had a very big test in his last fight against Dillian Whyte, who was an unbeaten prospect who had beaten AJ in the amateurs. I was there commentating for Sky and he passed the test with flying colours that night. It was an entertaining fight; he got hit on the chin a good few times and he sucked it up.

“He showed courage and bottle and he knocked out Dillian Whyte conclusively, no questions asked, and I believe he is one of the best fighters on the planet. But that’s the name of the game for me – I want to compete with these big young guns.

“He is nearly 10 years younger than me and he’s a lot bigger and stronger. I’m faster, I’m more experienced and I have a better pedigree in terms of my professional resume.”

Haye was speaking to Sky Sports News HQ live from his gym in south-west London, where he was training hard on Christmas Day.

“I’ve had plenty of Christmases to let myself go but now it’s time for work.” he said.

“Three-and-a-half years for any athlete is a long period of time to be away from what they do best so I know every single day and every single hour has to be methodical. My diet has to be perfect and my sleep has to be right.

“I can’t drink any alcohol and I need to be 100 per cent on January 16 at the O2 Arena. I have got to show that I am the best heavyweight on the planet because there are some young guys out there – Anthony Joshua is looking amazing and Tyson Fury has just won a title.

“We have a whole new crop of exciting heavyweights and I want to chuck my name into the mix and to do that, I have got to not only win, but look good doing so.”

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