Impressive Haye destroys Ruiz
David Haye fired out a warning to the Klitschko brothers with a hugely impressive defence of his WBA heavyweight belt against John Ruiz.
Haye has signalled his intention to unify the division, with the belts of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko in his sights, and he made a statement of intent by taking Ruiz apart. The Londoner put his 38-year-old rival down in the first round and his speed dictated the fight until the Ruiz camp threw in the towel in the ninth.
Haye kept Ruiz waiting in the ring for an age before making his entrance, which was greeted with a roar of approval from the MEN Arena crowd.
Ruiz marched out confidently and caught Haye with a couple of shots, but was sent on to the seat of his pants with a straight right hand. Ruiz took a count and looked unsteady when he got to his feet and was put down again, but the referee deemed it a rabbit punch and docked Haye a point.
The American is a durable fighter and got through the round and the break gave him the chance to clear his head. He was caught again in the second by a solid right, but Ruiz took it well and came forward for the remainder of the round.
Haye was happy to allow Ruiz to come forward, the Londoner's superior speed enabled him to stick and then move out of range. Haye tagged Ruiz at the start of the fifth and it seemed to knock the pace out of Ruiz and right on the bell, the Brit put his opponent on to the canvas.
A short right from Haye tagged Ruiz at the start of the sixth and he was felled shortly afterwards. Haye sensed victory and unloaded some huge shots, but Ruiz once again showed his durability by getting through the round.
Haye continued to catch his rival and a couple of powerful shots in the ninth disorientated Ruiz and the American's camp threw in the towel to prevent their man from taking any further punishment.
Haye paid credit to Ruiz after the fight, as he said: "I punched pretty hard but over the years he has developed a serious durability. I thought the fight would go like that, but I did not expect to get hit as often as that. But credit to John Ruiz, you do not have 11 world title fights without being any good.
"People said it would not be an exciting fight, but I believe I am the most exciting heavyweight in the world and I made it exciting."
Haye put Ruiz down in the first and felt he could have wrapped up the fight earlier. "I rushed my shots a bit and if I had taken my time I could have got him out in the first round," Haye told Sky Sports. "But he is an experienced guy. Training went well and I felt sharp and fast.
"I enjoyed the fight and at no stage did I feel like I was losing. I lost as couple of points for rabbit punches and they were cheap shots by me, but the adrenalin was pumping."
On the undercard, George Groves stopped Charles Adamu in the sixth round to claim the commonwealth super-middleweight belt. It was pretty much one-way traffic as Groves had his rival down twice in the fourth round and the referee stepped in to end the fight in the sixth. After his win, Groves set his sights on Paul Smith.
"My next fight needs to be Paul Smith," he said. "I need to knock that man out and take the British title off him. I should be next in line, I can't see anyone in front of me, I'm Commonwealth champion and I want that British belt."
Colin Lynes failed in his bid to take Ajose Olusegan's light welterweight crown, as his corner threw in the towel with their fighter struggling for breath.