David Haye
David Haye is eager to face Anthony Joshua in future but must first see off the eccentric Shannon Briggs Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Boxer David Haye has no intention of shirking a public challenge from Tony Bellew to drop back down a division and compete in a cruiserweight clash. Merseyside native 'The Bomber" achieved a lifelong dream and became a world champion at the third attempt on Sunday night (29 May) as he recovered from a first-round knockdown to stop big-puncher Ilunga Makabu and scoop the vacant WBC belt.

Spurred on by the emotion and support of an adoring crowd at his spiritual Goodison Park home, the Creed star used part of his post-fight television interview to throw down the gauntlet to unified WBA and IBF title-holder Denis Lebedev. He also expressed a desire to fight Haye, instructing his fellow Briton – a former undisputed cruiserweight champion who later held the WBA heavyweight strap after moving up in 2008 – to return to his natural weight because he had spent "long enough fighting them clowns".

Responding to that provocation, the 35-year-old congratulated Bellew on his achievement before adding: "Amongst all the excitement, maybe that punch you took in the first round that dropped you... your brain got scrambled because it looks like you really want to get knocked out by calling me a Bermondsey b**** and talking about knocking me out. You must have lost your goddamn mind.

"After I've knocked out Shannon Briggs, who has been giving it a lot of that himself, if you want to be on the list too...I'm knocking out all people talking too much, so get on the list mate. You're gonna get smashed to bits. I used to be a cruiserweight so we are both the same height and a similar size. Let's do it if you want it."

'Hayemaker' returned to the ring in January following a three-and-a-half-year absence and took less than a round to dispatch Mark de Mori at London's O2 Arena. His second comeback fight took place last weekend, when he produced another dominant knockout of little-known Swiss-based fighter Arnold Gjergjaj. He is expected to face Briggs in September after the American blitzed late replacement opponent Emilio Ezequiel Zarate on the latest 'Haye Day' undercard.