David Haye's hopes of reclaiming a version of his old WBA belt appear to have been scuppered, after current champion Lucas Browne reiterated he will face mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo next. The powerful 36-year-old, nicknamed "Big Daddy", became Australia's very first world heavyweight title-holder earlier in March with a brilliant 10th-round stoppage of Ruslan Chagaev in the Chechen capital of Grozny.
Haye ended his near four-year exile from the ring with the easiest of knockout victories over Mark de Mori in January and is scheduled to return to London's O2 Arena for his next fight on 21 May. An opponent for that bout has yet to be confirmed, however, and the former two-weight world champion claimed over the weekend that the prospect of facing Browne was a possibility after initial talks held with promoters Team Hatton.
That is despite Browne, who has also been the subject of challenges from the likes of Shannon Briggs, Solomon Haumono and Joseph Parker, having already signed an agreement to face veteran Puerto Rican Oquendo in his first defence, that will form part of a seven-man tournament designed to eventually unify the three WBA heavyweight belts. Tyson Fury will defend his super title in a rematch with Wladimir Klitscho at some stage this year, while interim champion Luis Ortiz is set to face Alexander Ustinov.
Reminding Haye of that obligation on Twitter, he said: "I think it's funny how full of s**t @mrdavidhaye is. I'm not fighting him. Oquendo is next, it's all in the contract. It ain't happening."
Browne provided a similarly withering denial last week, which read: "Ok just for the record what Haye is saying is full of s**t. He's an attention seeker trying to get some more limelight."
Haye first won the WBA championship from towering Russian Nikolai Valuev via a majority decision win back in November 2009, providing successful defences against both John Ruiz and Audley Harrison before losing out to Klitschko. A huge domestic fight with Anthony Joshua is likely to soon be on the horizon if the 2012 Olympic champion can beat Charles Martin in April, but for now he is hoping he can persuade Browne to make a swift return to the ring.
"Next week, I'll be getting some numbers in from some terrestrial television stations and hopefully those numbers will be attractive enough to lure Lucas Browne from Australia to the UK to allow me to challenge for my old WBA championship," he said in an update released on his official Facebook page.
"I know there is some mandatory obligations with Fres Oquendo. We'll need to get to the bottom of that. Obviously Fres Oquendo will need to be happy because he's mandated to fight Lucas Browne next. I'm aware of that. But once again, if you gave Fres Oquendo the option to fight Lucas Browne or fight myself I think I know what the answer would be."