Haye retains world title


MANCHESTER, April 4- Britain's David Haye retained his WBA world heavyweight title on Saturday after John Ruiz's corner threw in the towel in the ninth round of their fight in Manchester.

Brave Ruiz got off the canvas four times before his trainer Miguel Diaz ended the fight to save his man from more punishment in a one-sided contest at the MEN Arena.

Haye, 29, controlled the contest from the first bell, flooring Ruiz twice in the first round and again in the fifth and sixth.

American Ruiz, a former two-time WBA champion, was stopped for the first time in 14 years as Haye successfully defended the belt he had won with a points victory over Russia’s Nikolay Valuev in November.

The Briton, a former world champion at cruiserweight, improved his record to 24 wins and one loss with his 22nd stoppage victim, while Ruiz was halted for the first time since his 19-second wipeout to New Zealand’s David Tua in March 1996.

Ruiz’s career as a world title contender now looks over after the 38-year-old suffered his fourth defeat in his last seven fights and his record dropped to 44 wins, one draw and nine losses.

Victory for Haye, in what was only his fourth heavyweight bout, bolsters his case for a world title unification clash.

That could come against one of the Klitschko brothers – World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Vitali and International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) titles-holder Wladimir.

Ruiz entered the ring with a reputation for being durable, with just one stoppage loss in 18 years as a professional and having twice reigned as WBA champion.

But for all his experience, he could do nothing to combat Hayes superior speed as the Briton dropped clusters of punches from either fist in an explosive first round.

Ruiz was down in the first minute from the first meaningful punch thrown by Haye, a straight right that landed between the eyes and knocked the American backwards.

Ruiz got up at four of a compulsory eight count on unsteady legs and when the action continued Haye went after him, landing more clubbing blows to leave the challenger slumped on the ropes and given another eight count.

But Haye was deducted a point immediately after Ruiz got to his feet for hitting the American on the back of the head.

It hardly seemed to matter because Haye was in complete control and he landed another big right in a slower second round.

Ruiz began bleeding from his nose in the third and was rocked by a left hook as Haye mercilessly hunted him down.

The American touched down again in the fifth round when Haye caught him with a big right off the jab, but Ruiz got up at the count of eight and was saved more punishment by the bell.

In the sixth round Ruiz was floored again, this time by a right hook, but bravely beat the fourth count.

When Haye launched another attack that snapped back Ruiz’s head in the ninth round, his corner sensibly threw in the towel.