Shortly after his destruction of Corey Anderson, which occurred in mid-March, British UFC light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa made a surprise call for a boxing match with fellow Londoner David Haye.
On Wednesday’s edition of BJ Penn Radio, Manuwa explained the reason for this callout.
“I just think it would be a great fight,” Manuwa told host Kinch. “He’s a big name in boxing. He wants to fight. He wants to fight me. It’d be a massive fight for London and a massive fight for sports as well, crossing over into boxing and knocking out one of their big names. That’s something I want to do and that’s why I called him out. He fights at the O2 [Arena], I fought at the O2, and I think it would be a great event for the boxing and the MMA community.”
“I feel it would make a brilliant fight.”
Manuwa then shared the somewhat surprising news that some real efforts are being made in attempt to book this fight.
“I spoke to David Haye today (Wednesday),” Manuwa explained. “I spoke to him last week when I was in Vegas with Dana [White], and Dana liked the numbers—what can be generated through this event. We’re planning on making it happen. David Haye is out and about walking, he’s back walking now after his injury. We’re doing everything we can to make it happen.”
Should this crossover fight actually occur, it seems like it would make a great supporting act for Conor McGregor‘s much discussed boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. According to Manuwa, however, the timing might not line up – and his fight with Haye could probably do big numbers on its own anyway.
“Possibly,” he said. “But we’re big enough to do our own card as well in London. It depends when the Conor – Floyd fight happens. If it’s in September I think that would be too early for David Haye. I think he’ll be ready November or December. So a September card would be too early for him. We’ll see what happens. We’ve got options.”
As for his chances, Manuwa is very confident in his hands, be it in the boxing ring or the MMA cage.
“I’ve got boxing all the time during my camp,” he said. “I spar with some great boxers as well. I hold my own in there. Boxing’s a great sport. I love using my hands, as everyone knows.”
Are you surprised to learn that this Jimi Manuwa vs. David Haye boxing match is actually a possibility? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/27/2017.