Since promoter Richard Schaefer founded Ringstar Sports in June, he has concentrated on signing top amateur boxers -- mainly 2016 Olympians -- to begin building his stable. On Friday, though, he went for an established veteran -- former heavyweight and cruiserweight world titleholder David Haye.
Schaefer and Haye announced they have formed a 50-50 partnership called Hayemaker Ringstar and will promote cards mainly in the United Kingdom, but also with an eye on the United States.
The deal also means Schaefer is coming on board to copromote Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) in his much-anticipated heavyweight fight March 4 against British countryman and cruiserweight titleholder Tony Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs), who is moving up in weight, at the O2 Arena in London. Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn, the dominant promoter in the U.K., represents Bellew and made the deal with Haye.
Schaefer's alliance with the 36-year-old Haye marks his first foray into the U.K. market, although he and Haye have had a good relationship dating to 2008, when Schaefer was the chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions and signed Haye to the company in a copromotional deal.
"I'm delighted to be partnering with David to form Hayemaker Ringstar," Schaefer said. "The U.K. is a great market for boxing, with exciting fighters and passionate fans, and we're determined to work with the most talented boxers to give people the fights they want to see.
"I've wanted to set up in the U.K. for a long time, but it was important to partner with a team who knows the market. I couldn't ask for a better partner than David. We're both incredibly passionate about the sport, we both want to put fighters first, and we're both committed to bringing boxing to the masses."
Schaefer, speaking to ESPN from London on Friday after the deal with Haye was signed, said he is in the process of finalizing an agreement with a U.K. television network that will put on the Haymaker Ringstar cards.
"David Haye feels ready for his next chapter of his career and I am happy to be part of it," said Schaefer, who resigned from Golden Boy after a falling out with Oscar De La Hoya in 2014. The two co-founded the company in 2002. "David wanted to get into promotion and I was looking for a U.K. partner and he asked me to team up with him, and I'm glad we're doing this."
Since a fifth-round knockout victory against former world title challenger Dereck Chisora in July 2012, Haye has fought just twice, partly because of a shoulder injury. Both of the bouts were held in 2016, and he scored knockouts inside two rounds against low-level opposition.
The grudge match against Bellew, 34, is expected to a draw a substantial pay-per-view audience. If Haye wins, there are potentially bigger fights for him, such as against world titleholder and countryman Anthony Joshua, should Joshua defeat former world champion Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, sidelined lineal champion and countryman Tyson Fury, or even American world titleholder Deontay Wilder.
But Haye, with an eye on his post-fighting career, also has the promotional business on his mind.
"The joint venture with Hayemaker and Ringstar will send shock waves through British boxing," Haye said. "Together, we are creating a new kind of promotions entity. Throughout the history of boxing, the fighter has worked for the promoter. The core values of Hayemaker Ringstar will turn this on its head. We will work for the fighter.
"This shift will impact an incredible sport in a hugely positive way. Hayemaker Ringstar will be renowned for discovering amazing young talent, nurturing, empowering, and helping them to become global stars.
"The promoters who have dominated the British scene until now have done a good job. But with Richard's unrivaled track record, coupled with my firsthand insight understanding the needs of a fighter through the evolution of their career, Hayemaker Ringstar provides fighters with the perfect environment to maximize their potential, both in the ring and commercially. I have no doubt that Hayemaker Ringstar will become the U.K.'s leading promotional company."
Since his return to boxing last summer, Schaefer had signed five other fighters, all highly regarded amateurs: welterweight Money Powell IV; welterweight Eimantas Stanionis, a 2016 Lithuanian Olympian; 2016 U.S. Olympic lightweight Carlos Balderas and his older brother, bantamweight Jose Balderas; and middleweight Misael Rodriguez, a 2016 Mexican Olympic bronze medalist.