Tony Bellew has tonight, (May 5), defeated David Haye in their heavyweight rematch clash at London’s 02 Arena.
Bellew’s victory comes just over a year on from their first encounter, where the Evertonian defeated the former world heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, again at the 02 Arena.
Despite being the underdog back in March 2017, the Liverpudlian stopped Haye in the 11th round – it was later revealed a torn Achilles, suffered in the sixth round, rendered Haye virtually useless.
A heavy fall for David Haye in the fifth round, followed by a flurry of punches from Bellew, was enough for the referee to stop the contest.
After starting well, Haye was knocked down twice in the third round – injury, yet again, was thought to have played a part, but in his post-fight interview, Haye confirmed he was ‘healthy’.
In an interview with Sky Sports after the fight, while in the ring, an emotional Bellew said:
David Haye is an amazing fighter. He’s got crazy power. He’s a legend of the sport.
In the build up to one of 2018’s most anticipated fights so far, Bellew made it clear it’d be a war – one which would end Haye’s career ‘in a heartbeat’.
Bellew’s stark warning, as reported by the Independent, included the message how the Hayemaker would be fighting for his career:
On Saturday, it comes to an end, it really does. For the first time in your career you are fighting for your career.
If this goes wrong, nothing can save you. I’ve done this five or six times. I know the kind of pressure it brings. You’re in a lot of trouble on Saturday.
Bellew’s victory came as a bit of a surprise to the boxing world and fans alike.
For most bookies, as well as being the general consensus among fans, it was thought the former Heavyweight Champion, Haye, was always going to be too much for Bellew, who usually fights at Cruiserweight.
Despite Bellew coming out on top in both encounters, tonight’s fight was only his second at heavyweight in his, now, 33-fight career.
The Bronze Bomber agreed to a rematch with Haye, even though it was not initially written into their fight contract.
In the build up to tonight’s fight, Haye admitted to making a ‘big mistake’ in underestimating Bellew the first time around and told reporters earlier this week, he felt, this time, his display would be more ‘clinical’.
The Hayemaker had thanked his new trainer, Cuban, Ismael Salas, for the change in approach he’d be taking – Salas had reportedly spent seven months away from his family, in the US, in order to train the heavyweight.
Speaking prior to his rematch with Bellew, Haye told the BBC:
This time around I have kept my plan under wraps but it’s to do as much damage in the first six rounds and then step it up from round seven to 12.
Following Bellew’s – somewhat surprising – win in the capital, questions will understandably remain in regards to the future of both boxers inside the ring.
Bellew will turn 36 in November, while Haye, who’s previously spoken of retirement, is 37-years-old.
Before tonight’s fight, Haye revealed how ultimately, regardless of whether he won or not, it may be his last, telling the Evening Standard:
I don’t want to be known just for selling tickets and pay-per-view television. I’ve done that throughout my career.
How about the merit of my work? At 37, I am thinking about how I want to be remembered.
This may be my last fight even if I win. If I don’t win well and feel good about it, I won’t be carrying on. So the focus on what I have done in the ring is more important.
I finally got the HUGE fight against the opponent I ALWAYS wanted.. He’s looked at as the best cruiserweight this country has ever produced! He’s in the elite level bracket of fighters.. I’ve always admired David Haye as a fighter! He’s brilliant at what he does BUT styles make fights and I’ve studied him since I seen him as an amateur! I took the fight against nearly everyone’s wishes! Only a handful of people TRULY believed I’d win and them 3 of them were in my house! Everyone said I’ll get exposed in 2 rounds and David went crazy with some stupid shouts about putting me in hospital! Wrong but hey this is boxing and you’ve just gotta roll with it! I worked my arse off in camp and turned up prepared for war with a neat game plan to take this fight into the trenches in the 2nd half of the fight! Everything was going to plan until David incurred a freak injury to his Achilles tendon in round 6! Everyone knows the rest.. I firmly believe I was in perfect shape to go on and stop him had he remained healthy and continued swinging them big tiring shots that he was missing with by a mile! The injury made it messy and made him very hard to nail with a clean shot as his defence was very good which you would expect of a world class fighter! He was still swinging for the lights though and even took a cheap shot after I offered to touch gloves! Oh well! I dropped him and stopped him in the 11th as Super Shane came to his rescue.. I can’t wait to finally put this fight to bed on May 5th! It’s been the most frustrating year for me and the time away from boxing isn’t good! I hope David remains well and we can get this done with on May 5th.. Believe me when I say I will beat him again in the rematch and I’ll do it quicker than last time.. good luck David! Stay healthy
What’s next for Haye and Bellew then – I’m not sure? Even Bellew asked the 02 Arena for help as he admitted he was clueless!
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