Bellew to Face Usyk in Cruiserweight Showdown
By: Michael Kane
The big fights keep on coming for UK boxing fans.
Tony Bellew has moved back down to cruiserweight and will face undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, all of Usyk’s belts will be up for grab, the WBO, WBC, IBF as well as the Ring magazine belt.
The fight is to take place at Manchester Arena on November 10th.
Bellew, who was the WBC cruiserweight champion, is looking to end his career off in some style, with reports this is to be his last fight. The 35 year old moved up to heavyweight to face David Haye twice and stopped Haye for the second time in March this year.
Bellew told BBC Radio 5 Live, “He’ll see someone that will never give in, ever. He is one of the most feared men in boxing. This is the ultimate test for me.”
He added: “I’m taking this with my eyes wide open, I know I’m facing the best cruiserweight in the world, the best since Evander Holyfield in my opinion, an amazing fighter who can do everything and I’m happy to go in there against him and once again prove the whole world wrong. He’s a monster they all say I can’t beat but it’s not my first time at the rodeo. I’ve heard it all before. Let’s just see if he can answer all the questions I’ve had to answer throughout my career.
“Can he get off the floor? Can he come back from a nasty cut? Can he fight through bad injuries? Can he come from behind on the scorecards? Can he provide a one-punch knockout when it’s needed? All these questions I’ve answered on umpteen occasions.
“What I can promise is I will not be in awe of this man. I will not allow him to rattle five-, six-, seven-punch combinations. He will see someone that will never give in, ever. I’ve fought people far quicker, far more powerful. What I haven’t fought is someone who puts all the things together as good as he does. He can’t show me something I haven’t seen before.
“The world says I can’t beat him, can I outbox him? Probably not. Can I chin him? Absolutely. I’m the quickest cruiserweight he has ever fought and when I hit him he’s going to know I am the hardest cruiserweight he has ever fought.
“There ain’t a man I’ve ever shared a ring with who hasn’t felt the same thing ‘how in God’s name has that skinny fat freak just hit me so hard’. And he’s going to feel the same.”
Usyk, 31, become the first man to hold all four cruiserweight titles after winning them as part of World Boxing Super Series, Usyk entered the competition with the WBO then added the rest by beating Mairis Breidis in the semi final for the WBC and then added the IBF and WBA crowns by beating Murat Gassiev in the final.
Usyk, said to Sky Sports, “ I’ve been preparing for this fight for a long time and i’m delighted that we’ve got the venue and the date finalised. I cannot wait to fight in the UK.”
Bellew Defeats Haye Again, Butler and Ryder Win
By: Ste Rowen
At London’s O2 Arena, Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew once again overcame an early onslaught to defeat David Haye, even more decisively as their first meeting.
From the first bell the ‘Hayemaker’ looked to control the centre of the ring, constantly forcing Bellew back without efficiently cutting off the ring. Much like their 1st bout, Haye’s punching, though more constant, was very wayward. Every time David made a fairly substantial attack, Bellew literally shrugged it off, and prepared himself to counter the next attack. Towards the end of the 2nd round Tony threw his hands up as if to say, ‘Is that all you got?’
It seemed it might be.
Through 3, Bellew looked to control the centre ground. The ‘Bomber’ aimed to fire first in the round and as Haye prowled forward, Bellew countered with the jab and overhand right. Haye seemed to be throwing punches for the sake of it, without any real intent. Yet again, Bellew seemed so far out of reach of the ‘Hayemaker’ and with 20 seconds left of the 3rd, the ‘Bomber’ launched an assault, and a left-right hit the sweet spot to drop the Bermondsey native.
Haye had barely enough time to recover before Bellew was on him again, and the Liverpudlian took full advantage as he dropped the ‘Hayemaker’ yet again with a right hook into the corner of the ring. The bell rang for the end of the 3rd before what might’ve been a 9-minute finisher by Tony Bellew. Haye came out battling in the 4th round, but Bellew continued to look like the superior boxer. The David Haye of old was long gone by now, if not sooner.
With Bellew on the offensive at the end of the 4th round, heading into the 5th, the fight seemed poised. Then with 1:10 left on the clock, Bellew fired off a right-left that brutally dropped Haye yet again, and this time, it signalled the end. Haye rose, but looked shaky, and like any true boxer, Bellew went in for the kill. With less than 60 seconds on the clock, the ‘Bomber’ began to tee off on Haye and the referee had seen enough. Howard Foster stepped in, and called an end to Bellew vs Haye 2, with Tony Bellew emerging the victor once again.
Speaking post-fight, Bellew wasn’t completely clear on who he wanted next,
‘Me and Dillian (Whyte) have had words over the years. Dillian is a good fighter. It’s a hard fight, but it’s a fight for nothing…I’m a walking super series, every fight I’m in is the Super Series.’
‘Usyk, Gassiev, Andre Ward? You name them, I keep beating them. Just give me someone.’
On the undercard…
John Ryder vs Jamie Cox
After stopping Jamie Cox in the 2nd round, John Ryder has laid claimed to being THE super middleweight of Great Britain, despite the Lonsdale belt laying vacant.
Both southpaws came out swinging but both seemed to recognise the task ahead within a couple of minutes of the 1st round. The fight looked even as it headed into the 2nd until, with 2:23 on the clock, Ryder landed, what seemed to be, a routine right hand to the temple of Cox, dropping the former world title challenger, and, as the crowd waited for Cox to rise, the referee counted Ryder’s foe out. Cox tried to rise on number 10 of the 10-count, but that’s always a sure sign of a defeated man; and that’s just how Ian John Lewis saw it, as he waved off the bout.
So now with the likes of, David Brophy, Zach Parker, or even a rematch with Rocky Fielding waiting, John Ryder knows, the next fight is imperative to his progression.
Paul Butler vs Emmanuel Rodriguez
Emmanuel Rodriguez is the new IBF bantamweight champion of the world after a competitive, but ultimately clear 12 round decision victory over former holder of the same belt, Paul Butler.
After Paul Butler weighed in 3lbs over the bantamweight limit, and refused to attempt a 2nd weigh-in, the IBF bantamweight world championship was only on the line for Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and it seemed ‘Manny’ was taking his anger of Butler’s disregard for the 118-limit, out on him in the 1st round. Rodriguez punished Butler for 3 minutes, knocking down the Liverpudlian twice. The ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ survived through to the 4th, attempting to rally and regain the rounds lost at the start of the fight.
From the 5th though, Rodriguez played both predator and prey, luring Butler in, only to fire off point scoring counters. As the rounds grew on, Rodriguez played with Butler, knowing the IBF belt was within his grasp. The final scorecards came back as, 118-108, 120-106, 120-106.
As comprehensive as those scorecards were though, Rodriguez will know, in a division with such champions as Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete, and most likely, soon to be WBA ‘Regular’ champ, Naoya Inoue, there should be no easy fights going forward.
Lenroy Thomas vs Joe Joyce
Joe Joyce became the new commonwealth heavyweight champion in just his 4th pro bout with a 2nd round stoppage of Lenroy ‘TNT’ Thomas.
Joyce took the fight to Thomas immediately and though the work wasn’t as precise as the former Olympian would have hoped, it seemed to be having the desired effect, as Lenroy struggled through the 1st round. Right at the end of the first 3 minutes, Joyce dropped his Jamaican foe with a heavy left-hand body shot.
Saved by the bell, ‘TNT’ entered the 2nd round knowing he was in for a rough night. The 2nd followed the 1st as the sheer accumulation of punches from Joyce put the Commonwealth champ down once again. Thomas rose once more, but he was throwing absolutely nothing back by now and it seemed just a matter of time before the ‘Juggernaut’ finished the job.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock of the 2nd, Joyce put Lenroy down with another brutal left hook to the head, and that was that, as the bout was waved off, and Joe Joyce took another massive step towards the biggest honours.
Now, 4-0 (4KOs) and commonwealth heavyweight champion, Joyce was ready to talk up his ambitions post-fight,
‘I wanted to land, and hopefully gave everyone watching a good show…I knew he’d be a tricky opponent…I viewed my range and got to him.’
‘The world’s my oyster…I’d like to challenge for the British title.’
Joshua Buatsi vs Stephane Cuevas
Joshua Buatsi continued his steady rise in the pro ranks with a 5th round stoppage of 8-1-3, Stephane Cuevas.
The Ghanaian born light heavyweight, teed off on Cuevas all night, and in the 5th round began to rifle power shots off the head of his French opponent until the referee stepped in and ended the fight. There’s still the obvious signs of an elite amateur, fighting for points rather than for the knockout, but with the quality of output Buatsi displays, that’s hardly a criticism.
Post-fight, Eddie Hearn, Buatsi’s promoter, laid out future plans,
‘On to 10 rounds next…He’ll box on our September show in New York…He’s down to earth, he’s working hard, and the only thing that can stop him, is Joshua Buatsi himself.’
Martin Ward vs James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth and European super featherweight titles on the line, anticipation was high heading into this England vs. Northern Ireland matchup, and it was the green and white army that took it, as James Tennyson stopped Martin Ward in the 5th round of a pulsating fight.
Ward was wearing the yellow and blue of Ukraine, and in the early rounds, the Essex native was displaying the kind of defensive movement Lomachenko would be happy with, but it wasn’t just his defence that was impressive as, at the end of the 2nd round, ‘Wardy’ landed a beautiful left hook to the body that dropped Tennyson. The Irishman rose before the count and came out all guns blazing for the third.
After a blistering, all action 3rd and 4th, Tennyson returned the favour for the 2nd round 10-8, with a knockdown of his own. The Irishman wasted no time in taking advantage of a dazed Ward, dropping his opponent again, forcing the referee to call time on the bout.
Heading into the fight as the underdog, James ‘The Assassin’ Tennyson is now the new, Commonwealth and EBU European super featherweight champion.
Luke Campbell vs Troy James
Luke Campbell returned to the ring for the first time since his competitive split decision loss to WBA world champion, Jorge Linares, with a dominant stoppage in the 5th round of a scheduled 6-round bout against ‘Terrifying’ Troy James.
In complete control from the first bell, Campbell, now 18-2 (14KOs) will be grateful for the rounds considering the length of time he’s been out of the ring (8 months). Speaking after the fight, Campbell had Yvan Mendy, the only other man to have beaten ‘Cool Hand’, firmly in sight for his future 2018 plans.
Bellew vs. Haye Undercard Preview
By: Ste Rowen
With domestic dust ups, commonwealth honours and a world title fight, Bellew vs Haye isn’t the only intriguing bout taking place in London on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports Boxing Twitter Account
Paul Butler v Emmanuel Rodriguez
First up is a bout for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title, recently dropped by Ryan Burnett. Paul Butler, 26-1 (14KOs) takes on Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez in an attempt to reclaim the belt he previously held in 2014 when he beat Stuart Hall via split decision. Eight months after that fight, Butler had vacated the bantamweight title to fight for the super flyweight version of the IBF. That night, the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ had his first taste of defeat when he was dominated, and ultimately stopped by South African, and currently WBA ‘Super’ bantamweight champion, Zolani Tete. Butler has rebuilt well since then, with a nine-straight win streak including a unanimous decision victory in a rematch with Stuart Hall, and although he heads into Saturday’s fight as the underdog, speaking to Sky Sports, Paul’s not falling for the hype surrounding Rodriguez,
‘When you watch him, you think he’s a special kid, but go through the rounds, watch his mistakes, there’s loads we’ve picked up on. He goes to his left pretty much every time, he’ll take a step to his right and then he’ll come straight back to his left.’
‘We’ve both got pretty similar styles, we both love a left hook to the body, we both love going head to the body…I know I’ve trained hard and I’m physically well, I’m sparring well. I believe under Joe (Gallagher) I can get in there with anyone and win.’
Emmanuel Rodriguez, 17-0 (12KOs) is yet to go the 12-round distance. The furthest ‘Manny’ has gone is 10 rounds, when he came up against Albert Guevara in 2016, earning a clear victory across all three scorecards. This will also be the first time Rodriguez fights outside of North America, with previous matchups taking place in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the US. Though on the surface Butler is showing no signs of concern for the momentum ‘Manny’ has gathered, there’s certainly attributes that will worry him. The Puerto Rican may have been taken the distance by Guevara, but he was teeing off variations of the left hand all night, and he’s not limited to his left. His precision of the right-cross has setup the finish against previous opponents.
Zolani Tete’s record going into the Butler fight wasn’t much to look at, and we saw what happened there. Speaking earlier this week, Rodriguez was eager for fight night to come around,
‘It has been a long road to this fight, but I am ready to win my first world championship. Paul Butler is a good fighter, but nothing can stop me…It doesn’t matter that we’re in his backyard, I’ve done everything right getting ready for this and I look forward to bringing the belt back to my beloved country of Puerto Rico.’
Lenroy Thomas v Joe Joyce
The sole heavyweight bout to grace Saturday’s card sees Commonwealth champion, Lenroy Thomas take on 2016 silver medallist, Joe Joyce.
Thomas, 22-4-1 (11KOs) was last seen in his ill-fated rematch with David Allen in March. That night, the two boxers clashed heads in the first round, cutting Allen enough for the fight to be called a technical draw. The Jamaican is yet to defend his commonwealth title since beating Allen in their first fight last year, fighting just once – discounting the Allen rematch – in an 8-round decision victory over 12-2, Ed Fountain, on the Wilder vs Stiverne 2 undercard.
Much like his fellow 2016 Olympians Filip Hrgovic and Tony Yoka, Joyce, 3-0 (3KOs) is being fast tracked through the rankings with previous bouts including a debut stoppage win over 12-3-1 at the time, Ian Lewison and more recently, a 38 second KO of big talking, big framed, but little fight, Donnie Palmer.
John Ryder v Jamie Cox
John Ryder will take on fellow southpaw Jamie Cox in a domestic showdown that’s sure to get the crowd going before the main event.
Ryder’s last outing was his explosive 5th round knockout of Patrick Nielsen on the undercard of Jamie Cox vs George Groves in October, and the Londoner wasn’t too concerned about having to wait so long for this next fight,
‘There was talk of other fights we were looking at, but they didn’t come off, that’s boxing. It was about picking the right fight, rather than going in there against anyone…I think our styles are geared up for a good fight, it’ll be a real treat for the fans.’
Jamie Cox’s Matchroom career hasn’t exactly set alight since making the switch from Frank Warren’s, Queensberry Promotions back in early 2017. Aside from the stoppage defeat to Groves, Cox has fought four times; 16 rounds against very limited opposition, but he recognises the step up in opponent he’ll be taking this weekend,
‘I’m expecting the best John Ryder. I’m looking forward to mixing it with him…He’s ranked across a couple of the governing bodies and it’s my goal to become a world champion. Beating John will open more doors…He likes to come forward and have a go and I’m always up for the fight.’
With Rocky Fielding vacating the British title, a win for either of these two, puts them firmly in place for the next shot at the Lonsdale belt.
Martin Ward v James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth, EBU and WBA ‘International’ super featherweight titles up for grabs, there’s a lot to play for when Martin Ward and James Tennyson enter the ring.
Ward, 19-0-2 (9KOs) has world honours in his sight heading into Saturday,
‘I’ve gone the traditional route and I’m glad I’ve done that…I want to progress to the world stage now. I’ve won everything there is to win and when I beat James, I want to start working towards world level.’
Tennyson, 21-2 (17KOs) who puts the WBA ‘International’ belt on the line, heads into the bout as the underdog but, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, ‘The Assassin’ believes his time is now,
‘Within the last year I have won an Irish title and the WBA ‘International’ title and won three 50/50 fights by stoppage…Now I’m going onto the biggest stage, and I can’t wait…Ward is quick and sharp and it won’t be easy, but we have our game plan and I’m ready for 12 hard rounds.’
Underdog Turned Champ
Underdog Turned Champ
By: Iftisaam Khan
Drama. Power. Heart. It had it all.
Causing one of the biggest upsets in the Sport, Tony ‘The Bomber’ Bellew overcame the former WBA heavyweight champ, David Haye in dramatic circumstances at the O2 Arena in a night that was only expected to last a few rounds.
With some putting Haye ahead on points; things took a dramatic turn for the worse as the fighter’s rumoured Achilles injury became apparent in the 6th round.
Despite Haye’s chances been severely hindered, he was able to bring to carry on in true display of courage and heart as he withstood his opponent till his eventual demise in the 11th round after being knocked to the canvas. Throughout the late exchanges Bellew in particular was exhausted as he looked to find the finishing punch but he was able to find the last bit in the tank as he nailed home the victory.
What makes this such as special feat is the fact that the only person who believed he was able to accomplish this feat was Bellew and his team as he moved up to heavyweight for the first time.
Despite the daunting task of sharing the ring with one of the world’s most powerful punchers Bellew took it his stride and was able to defy the bookies who were heavily backing Haye to get the business done. It would have a been interesting to see how Haye would have fared without his injury, perhaps it would have been too much for the Liverpudlian but we will never know.
Taking the attention away from the main event to the other great action in the night saw O’Hara Davies turn his words into actions as he overcame Derry Matthews in a brutal finish with a KO in the third round to end proceedings as well as Matthews career as the 33-year-old called time on his boxing career.
Elsewhere saw the ever-improving Katie Taylor produce one of the best performances on the night as she overcame Monica Gentili in the 5th round. The Irishwoman was in a league of her own as she produced flawless display proving too much for opponent. Although its early days, we are potentially witnessing one of the greatest women’s boxers, so sit back and enjoy.
Adding to the fighters hanging up their gloves tonight was Pauli Malignaggi following his defeat against Brit, Sam Eggington. The American wasn’t able to get complete control over opponent, although he did land some successful shots on his foe he wasn’t able to make them count as Eggington took control of majority of the fight. In the 8th round the ‘Savage’ was able to end proceedings with a devastating hook to body, ending Malignaggi’s hope and ending his career.
Fight Recap: Haye vs. Bellew; Hay Day’s Gone
Fight Recap | Haye – Bellew | Hay Day’s Gone
By: Courtney Riley
Many thought this fight would be a mismatch. Like many observers, I predicted that Haye would bomb out the ‘Bomber’ in emphatic fashion, early. Well, Bellew tore up the script. He ignored the speech monitors and told his own story. He beat the heavy pre-fight favourite, Haye, in an 11-round thriller. They served up a classic; one that is sure to be certified as an unforgettable clash in years to come.
Haye was favoured to blast out the Liverpudlian early. He stalked the smaller Bellew who kept his composure and avoided the urge to be drawn into a shoot-out with the big hitting Haye. The Hayemaker did have some success in landing some of his best shots. He strung together a stinging 4-punch combination that found the target, but Bellew took it well and shook off the cobwebs. Tony stuck to his discipline and weathered the storm.
Few people predicted that the fight would get this far. The stifled voices in Bellew’s camp were very vocal about their plan to drag Haye into deep waters, and they did. They questioned his heart and his appetite to taste leather. Then the in round 6 happened. Haye lost the use of his right leg, and that’s when the tide turned. Bellew pressed forward as Haye was unable to push back. The ‘Bomber’ scored a dubious 7th round knock-down as he marched forward.
Many thought that Haye would gas out by the late rounds, if it was to ever get this far, he didn’t. His injury forced him to hobble through the rounds and Bellew took advantage to rack up the points. It was now a 50-50 fight. The scorecards were evening out and the momentum was truly with Bellew. Haye dismissed any pre-fight questions about his heart and desire by hanging in there. Bellew was walking him down and laying leather on him. Eventually in the the 11th, he forced David up against the ropes and punctuated a combination with a sharp left hook that knocked David through the ropes. The ‘Hayemaker’ valiantly pulled himself back into the ring to beat the count, but his corner threw in the towel. The fight was over. Tony won!… and one can’t help but to admire the job that he did in there.
The fight was a spectacle. It took on a life of its own and tugged on the heart-strings of every observer. Haye’s impatient pressure in the early rounds might have contributed to his injury in the 6th. However, it is Bellew who must take all the plaudits for showing all the discipline and determination in a fight that he had no business winning. Both sides stated their desire for a rematch but one fight might be enough. Like any good ending, this fight has left some questions in the mind. I’ll leave them with you below:
Is it the end for David Haye?
Should Bellew give a rematch?
Will Bellew take on another heavyweight challenge in the form of the unbeaten Deontay Wilder?
Haye- Bellew | Mismatch or Tear Up
Haye – Bellew | Mismatch or Tear Up
By: Courtney Riley
The truth be told, we all love a good fight. That is the reason why boxing is thriving in the UK and the world over. We – the fans – love it, and are prepared to fork out good money to watch it. That is primarily why fights are made and the reason why prize-fighters engage in these pugilistic wars for our entertainment. Haye vs Bellew will be no different. This fight has ignited the excitement of boxing fans across the UK (and around the wider globe). Every fight fan has something to say about it. History, however, has taught us that the ‘big fights’ very rarely live up to their pre-fight hype, but when they do, fans are left with something unforgettable – a certified classic.
Will this fight prove to be a disappointing mismatch or a classic tear up? How do both fighters match up to each other?
Both fighters measure up to a height of 6’3, though Haye will have a 4-inch reach advantage. Bellew has been operating at Light Heavyweight (175lbs) for the vast majority of his career before he moved up to Cruiserweight (200lbs) back in March, 2014. It is at that weight where he truly stepped into his own to become a world champion, and some would say into his prime. On the other hand, Haye is perhaps the best cruiserweight that this country has ever produced. He punctuated that assertion when he knocked out Enzo Maccarinelli back in ’08 to become the unified WBC, WBA, WBO, and Ring Magazine cruiserweight world champ. Some would say that was during David’s prime – almost a decade ago. David has been operating at Heavyweight since 2008 and is more accustomed to fighting bigger men than Bellew. For this fight, Haye weighed in at a muscular 236lbs as opposed to Bellew’s lighter yet more podgy-looking 215lbs.
Edge: Haye – even though both men have similar heights and fairly similar frames, their dynamics are worlds apart. Haye is much more muscular and chiselled compared to his opponent. Bellew’s team should have stipulated a cap on Haye’s weight instead of allowing him to have all the advantages in that department.
Bellew calls himself the ‘Bomber’. It is a fitting moniker for a man who can truly bang; a man who holds bombs in both fists, and that’s Bellew. He stopped Mukabu to win his world title and he bombed out Flores in his first title defence. Even though he is looking to be a lot more powerful since his step up to cruiserweight, will he be able to carry that power up to heavyweight? Haye is a banger. No doubts. No debate. He made the towering 7-foot-2 – 320-pound giant Nikolay Valuev lean to one side like the monument in Pisa from a left hook in their heavyweight WBA world title clash. To boast further, he has also stopped 26 of his 28 victims. Everything indicates that Haye packs a serious punch.
Edge: Haye – Bellew has had 13 stoppages in his 20 wins at light-heavyweight and it seems that he is punching harder since his move up to cruiserweight. Haye, however, has been consistently crunching on his opponents like breakfast cereal since he turned professional back in 2002.
Haye was rapid at cruiserweight – foot and hand-speed, both. His speed was one of his key attributes that enabled him to dominate the division. That dominance, however, was near enough a decade ago. He is still very quick as a heavyweight but is he as fast as he was as a cruiser? Bellew is a cruiserweight and is accustomed to sharing the ring with faster men than those who operate at heavyweight. He is not a fast cruiserweight by any stretch but he is faster than most heavies.
Edge: Haye (slightly) – he is explosive and is perhaps the fastest elite-level heavyweight on the planet. Bellew himself has stated that he believes that Haye is the fastest single puncher at heavyweight in the world.
Neither fighter is a technical operator in the classical sense. Bellew has a tendency to fight with his chin up, while looping in with his shots. In boxing 101, that’s a total ‘no no’. He’s been proved to be hittable in the past and this the kind of fight where he can’t afford to be getting tagged by the heavy-handed Haye. Haye’s technique is all wrong, but it grants him his unique style. He fights with his hands low in a fairly wide stance. He depends more on his athleticism than his technique in a way that is slightly reminiscent of the legendary Roy Jones Jr. of years gone by.
Edge: Haye – even though Haye is not technically any better than Bellew in terms of boxing ability. His athleticism (reflexes, agility and speed) will compensate for the areas where he is found lacking.
Haye can be hurt. He has been stopped at cruiserweight in the past. He has also been hurt on several occasions at that weight. He is an elusive fighter when he is fully in his stride however, so Bellew will have a tough task trying to hurt what he can’t see. Bellew has been stopped, bruised and hurt at cruiserweight as well. But none of his opponents were quite as heavy-handed as Haye. The prospects are not very appealing for Tony in this area.
Bellew is a man on-form. He is still flying high from his world title triumph over Makabu and from his emphatic stoppage victory over BJ Flores. He has been fighting regularly against good competition for the past 5 years which will stand him in good stead. On the flip-side, Haye has had only one competitive fight in the last five years – his stoppage victory over Derick Chisora back in 2012.
Edge: Even – there are too many unknowns about how much Haye will have left in the tank at 36 years old. There are questions about his desire and his motivation but none of those can be quantified. Bellew is as stubborn as a bull and will fight hard as long as he is physically able. That makes for a good fight for however long it will last.
Emphatic early stoppage for Haye in what will prove to be an entertaining mismatch.
Haye vs. Bellew: Beneath the Bluster
Haye vs. Bellew: Beneath the Bluster
By: Matt O’Brien
“Of course, to try to learn from boxers was a quintessentially comic quest. Boxers were liars. Champions were great liars. They had to be. Once you knew what they thought, you could hit them. So their personalities became masterpieces of concealment.” – Norman Mailer, The Fight.
David Haye is a self-confessed play boy from south London who enjoys partying it up in Miami and posing on yachts in his spare time; Tony Bellew is a straight-talking, proud Liverpudlian and consummate family man. It would be an understatement to say they are different characters. What they share is a competitive zeal that has taken them both to professional world title honours and helped set up a meeting inside a 20ft ring on Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena in front of thousands of baying spectators.
It is an acrimonious clash of personalities that has threatened to boil over and breach even the outlandish standards of decency the sport of boxing routinely sets for itself. It is also a curious enough blend of styles and career trajectories to warrant the wider exposure the event has garnered. Whatever else happens prior to the combatants stepping through the ropes, the fight itself is unlikely to disappoint as a fistic spectacle. Both men can punch very hard, both men want to lay hurt on the other, both men have suffered stoppage defeats in their careers, and yet both have gotten off the canvas to come back and score sensational knockout victories in one of their most important fights. Drama is not something likely to be lacking once the talking stops and the trade in leather begins.
In the lead up to the bout, Haye has talked – as so many fighters do – of being rejuvenated, of feeling “better than ever”, and describing the 36-year-old, post-shoulder surgery version of himself that has seen less than nine minutes of ring time in the last five years as “Hayemaker 2.0”.
“You’re gonna see the end of Hayefaker 2 and the beginning of Hayefaker point 3 – it’s like the bleeding Die Hard movies over here, thinks he’s bleeding John McClane, this clown,” quipped Bellew at the final pre-fight press conference on Thursday. “You live in a fairy tale world,” he had said earlier, shaking his head in disdain at the thought of the Londoner’s glamourous lifestyle.
For his part, Haye resorted to the more unseemly remarks that have characterised much of his behaviour in the build up. “I’m legally allowed to do as much damage to him as I can inflict in 36 minutes with 10oz gloves on,” warned the former WBA heavyweight and unified cruiserweight champion. “Make sure your little rat coach doesn’t throw the towel in to try to save you for another day – there’s not gonna be another day for you. This is the last day for you. This is it. Enjoy your last couple of days. That’s it. It’s over.”
Statements of this kind have led to a backlash in some sections of the media, with Haye being viewed as having needlessly crossed the line between engaging in pre-fight psychological warfare and bringing the sport into disrepute. It is unlikely that he will escape the aftermath of the bout without a serious dressing down from the British Boxing Board of Control – although they previously refused to sanction his fight with Dereck Chisora in 2012, only to discover that they had no power to prevent the boxers from competing on UK soil under the auspices of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation. How seriously they will attempt to reprimand him for his comments this time remains to be seen; it is clear from the spite in Haye’s rhetoric though that the straight-talking scouser has succeeded in getting well and truly under his skin.
Is that likely to make a difference to the outcome of the fight? Not really – at least not in Bellew’s favour, anyway. If anything, publicly labelling Haye as “that bitch from Bermondsey” and then persistently questioning his character seems to have provided the former champ with an extra level of motivation. He looked ripped and in fantastic shape on the scales on Friday afternoon, and while Haye has never lacked an impressive physique, more worryingly for Bellew he appeared leaner than in his previous two outings, despite still weighing 224 ½ pounds. Bellew, the former light-heavyweight, predictably came in much lighter at 213 ½, while sporting a far less admirable midsection.
Of course, no one has ever won a boxing match based on looks, but it is nevertheless hard to escape the conclusion that the current WBC cruiserweight champion will be seriously outgunned come fight night. “He’s coming to a gun fight with a floppy dildo in his hand” was one of the more crass descriptions thrown out by the south Londoner regarding his rival in the past week.
And yet, beneath all the bluster and the machismo, both men betrayed the fact that, in their own way, they carry traces of doubt into the contest with them.
For the Hayemaker, this was more about the limitations that his older, more shopworn body poses for him than of the dangers of his opponent. “I’m 36 years of age now. In the past, I could get away with three, four hours sleep a night and still bang out two hard sessions – can’t do that anymore. I need a good nine, ten hours sleep if I’m gonna push two hard sessions out,” admitted Haye.
Later, asked point blank by Sky’s head of boxing Adam Smith whether he was “totally injury free,” it was possible to detect the slightest hesitation before he responded: “Yes. Yes. As much as any other fighter is before they get in the ring… there’s no punches restricted, there’s no movement restricted, I can throw whatever combination I want.” The words sounded suspiciously like he was trying to convince himself that he would be problem-free, despite whatever minor ailments he was carrrying.
As for the Bomber, he was more open about the enormity of the task his adversary presents. “I’ve gotta stick to a gameplan and I’ve gotta be clever in there, because you cannot go in there and give the opportunities to David Haye within them first few rounds. It just can’t be given to him, ‘cause he will take it and the fight will be over instantly.”
The “clever” Bellew gameplan would presumably therefore involve avoiding exchanges early and dragging out the contest for as long as possible in order to take advantage of Haye’s perceived lack of stamina, and then begin to turn things in his favour as the bigger man tires and finally burns out. It’s a strategy that has proven successful before. In 2004, an exhausted Haye was stopped by Carl Thompson, after unleashing a barrage early on but failing to get his more experienced foe out of the fight. Lacking a Plan B or enough energy in reserve to hold off his surging assailant, he was rescued by his corner in the fifth round.
While the strategy may be a sound one, the chance of Bellew being able to pull it off is incredibly slim. The likeable Liverpudlian certainly talks a good game, and his insistence that he is prepared to win “by any means necesarry” should be taken at face value. The problem though lies not with his commitment to the task, but rather his ability to avoid presenting David Haye with an opportunity to do damage in those first few rounds. The Hayemaker is not just the bigger man and a seriously heavy hitter – he also happens to be a very accurate, fast puncher, an extremely skilled boxer and a tremendous finisher. My feeling is that he is bound to land something significant at some point within the first three rounds, and once he does, he possesses the killer instinct to let his hands go and get Bellew straight out of the fight.
It might not last long then, but the fans should get what they paid for: two big men engaging in an exciting fight with a conclusive ending. And hopefully, once the battle is over, temperatures have cooled, mutual respect has been earned and the fighters no longer need to conceal their innermost anxieties for fear of weakness, they can again conduct themselves in a manner more becoming of the great sport they represent.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Chavez, Haye, Bellew, Stevens, Lemieux, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Chavez, Haye, Bellew, Stevens, Lemieux, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 21st to February 28th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Rich/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. New York City Press Conference Quotes
Two-division world champion Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and former WBC World Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) today hosted a press conference in New York City, the second stop on their four-city press tour. The fans for both fighters came out in throngs and lined up early to get close to Canelo and Chávez, Jr. at the event. Canelo and Chávez, Jr. will meet on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Saturday, May 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Below is what the fighters and their teams had to say at today’s press conference:
CANELO ÁLVAREZ, Former Two-Division World Champion:
“Every time I come to NYC, the fans show me a lot of love. Thank you for that. I want to tell everyone that I am going to prepare 100 percent for this fight and train well. This is going to be a very hard fight, a difficult fight because it will be at a new weight. You are going to see a great fight on May 6.”
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR., Former WBC World Middleweight Champion:
“Thank you to Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo for this opportunity. I will see you May 6 in Las Vegas.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“You have the biggest star in boxing today with Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and then you have Julio César Chávez, Jr., the son of one of Mexico’s greatest fighters ever. We took a poll and there is a 99.9 percent chance this fight will end in a knock out. That’s what fans want to see, that’s why we made this fight, for the fans.”
PETER NELSON, Executive Vice President of HBO:
“We have here a fight that has been talked about for years, possibly even a decade. The culmination of two lengthy journeys for JC, Jr. and Canelo has all been leading to a moment where they have a pivotal fight in their careers. This fight is about legacy and the pride of Mexico. Out of all the fights on the calendar this year, this is the biggest fight of them all.”
GUADALUPE VALENCIA, Representative to Julio César Chávez, Jr.:
“I think Julio wants to win this fight. There is a big size difference. People have underestimated Julio in his career. Julio César Chávez, Jr. is going to win on May 6.
EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer to Canelo Álvarez :
“I want to thank Golden Boy, Canelo and the Chávez’s for the opportunity to bring another great fight. This fight represents Mexican pride. It’s always a pleasure to be a part of these fights. It’s going to be a war in the ring, and I have full confidence that we will get the result we are training for. Mexico versus Mexico is one of the greatest fights you can see in the world.
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Co-Trainer to Canelo Álvarez :
“We are so thankful for all the support we have received. We have to recognize the sacrifices that both fighters have made to make this fight possible for all the fans who have been asking for it. Julio will have to drop to a weight and Saúl will have to go up to a weight he hasn’t fought at. What will happen on May 6 is an arena filled with thousands of Mexicans who will come together to sing the Mexican national anthem together, and show the U.S. that we are more unified than ever before.”
“Viva Mexico! Viva Canelo!”
Tickets priced at $1,500, $1,250, $1000, $800, $600, $400, $300, $200, $125 and $75, not including applicable service charges and taxes, with a total ticket limit of 12 per person (a limit of 10 per person at the $1,500, $1,250, $1000, $800, $600, $400 price levels and a limit of two  per person at the $125 and $75 price level) are on sale now. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.t-mobilearena.com or www.axs.com.
David Haye and Tony Bellew Interview Quotes
David Haye and Tony Bellew recently spoke to betsafe (https://www.betsafe.com/en/blog/sports/boxing) about their upcoming heavyweight clash. Below are some select quotes from their conversation.
•”I’m glad the fans were let in, they got an opportunity to see their boy Bellew up there and cheer him, because come March 4th, there’s not gonna be much cheering”
•”I’ve come all the way to Liverpool to say my piece, and these morons…they’re just like him they’re all idiots. Ignorant idiots. So let them yap all they want”
•”The last guy I had the most beef with was Dereck Chisora. As I promised everybody, I knocked him out in 5 rounds. Before that he hadn’t been knocked out, hadn’t even been knocked down. Exactly as I predicted I knocked him out in 5. And he’s never been knocked down since”
•”I’m telling you now, I’m knocking out Tony Bellew. As soon as my right hand connects with his chin, he’s going to sleep. I’m going to hit him with something he’s never dealt with before”
•”Ignorance is an interesting thing, he doesn’t understand the power, he doesn’t understand what it feels like to be hit, and he won’t know what it feels like because he’ll go straight to sleep”
•”I don’t have to defend myself, I prove myself in the ring. They get their confidence from perceived insufficiencies of mine. I get my confidence from looking at his best nights, I look at him on his best day and get my confidence from there”
•”Nothing about him frightens me whatsoever. He’s coming to a gunfight with a dildo in his hand”
•”That was just scousers showing their passion. We’re passionate people and I’m the same as them, so I would never say they were wrong, I thought the fans were fantastic today and gave their 10 pence didn’t they?”
• “It’s disgusting the things he’s saying. He’s a clown, he’s a pratt. I can’t fit in one sentence all the things he is but he’s just a distasteful scumbag in all honesty. But this is boxing, and he’s just an absolute idiot, a first-
• “I’m not that wound up to be honest with you. I’ve never seen him like that. This is a man who’s fought Vladimir Klitschko on a global stage. Have you ever seen him that riled up?”
• “Labelling people retards its absolutely disgusting, but this is the mark of the man. We’re dealing with an absolute scumbag here, but soon enough it’s going to come back to bite him on the backside”
•”I can see why they’d think he’d beat me. He’s very fast, a fantastic athlete, but I know boxing, I’ve been in this game a long time, I’m an established name in my own right”
•”I’m going to win Saturday night, I couldn’t tell you how. It’s gonna be tough, it’s gonna get hard, it’s gonna get brutal at somestage. And when it does I’m gonna take over. The fat guys gonna get him”
•”If I hit him with the same left hit I hit Ilunga Makabu with he’s going to be asleep for a lot longer than 10 seconds”
•”I understand I’m going in with a very fast, dangerous, world class-gifted fighter. But, he has a very short time span on how long he’s that good for. And I believe I’ll see out that time span and see the best of it”
•”You can only lie to yourself so much, and the closer the fight gets the more fear I see in his face. He’s not prepared”
Stevens and Lemieux to Fight on HBO Boxing After Dark
It has been announced that middleweights David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens will fight on an edition of HBO Boxing After Dark. This bout will take place on Saturday, March 11th at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York for the WBO Intercontinental, WBC Continental Americas and IBF North American Middleweight Titles.
The lead promoter for this fight will be Golden Boy Promotions.
Vargas Wins WBC Super Bantamweight Title with a Decision Over McDonnell
Rey Vargas walked into enemy territory and won the WBC Super Bantamweight title with a 12-round majority decision over Gavin McDonnell at Ice Hall in Hull, England.
The championship bout, which took place this past Saturday, headlined a card that was streamed live on www.klowdtv.com
It was a competitive fight with Vargas using his length and landing his jab, that would open up combinations. McDonnell was willing, but did not seem to be able to get in a groove, yet he was able to fight even on a card at 114-114. while two other cards had the right winner at 117-111 and 116-112.
Vargas of Mexico is now 29-0. McDonnell, was trying to join his twin brother Jamie (IBF Bantamweight) as current world champion, drops to 16-1-2.
“I am happy, we were able to win the world title in his backyard,”said Vargas. “It is an honor to bring this title back to my people in Mexico.”
“It was his long arms, I just could not pin him,” said McDonnell. “He beat me fair and square. I just fell short. I felt alright in there, it was just his long arms that were the difference. I showed that I belong at this level after just 18 fights, and I will be back in the gym and I will be a world champion.
Luke Campbell took out Jairo Lopez in the 2nd round of their scheduled 10-round lightweight bout.
Campbell hurt Lopez in the 1st round with a right hand. Campbell was patient and then dropped and stopped Lopez with a right hand and the fight was over.
Campbell is 16-1. Lopez is 21-7.
Tommy Coyle stopped Rakeem Noble in round three of their scheduled ten-round super lightweight bout.
Coyle hurt Noble with a right at the end of round two, and finished him with a booming right in round three, that sent Noble down. Noble got to his feet, but the referee stopped the fight.
Coyle is now 23-4. Noble is 11-2.
Greg Cohen Promotions Inks Turkish Super Middleweight Cem Kilic
Greg Cohen Promotions proudly announces the signing of super middleweight prospect Cem “Champ” Kilic.
22-year-old Kilic (7-0, 4 KOs) was born in Frankfurt, Germany, to Turkish parents. Kilic was a decorated amateur boxer on the international level, where he won the European Silver Medal for Turkey in 2012.
Upon meeting his manager Shane Shapiro, he moved to America and turned professional in 2014. He currently lives in Sherman Oaks, California.
Kilic has gained invaluable experience serving as sparring partner for several high-profile fighters including multiple world champions Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, as well as well-known names like Montreal’s Jean Pascal, and South Africa’s Chris van Heerden.
“I am excited to sign with Greg Cohen Promotions,” said Kilic. “Greg has a strong history of building his fighters correctly and giving them the chance to fight for world titles. I left my family behind to pursue my dream of becoming a world champion and to make the people of America, Turkey and Germany proud. With my manager, Shane Shapiro, in my corner and GCP guiding me, I know there is No Limit to my success!”
“I am excited to bring Cem over to GCP,” said Shane Shapiro. “Cem is an extremely talented young fighter. His style is fan-friendly, he is always in a good fight and he is beyond dedicated to his craft. I’m very comfortable knowing that GCP will help move Cem along the right way that will ultimately lead him to a world title shot.”
Promoter Greg Cohen says he should have no problem moving Kilic up the ladder quickly.
“He’s such a crowd-pleasing fighter, people will want to see him,” said Cohen. “Cem has a natural ability to generate excitement in his fights, which will put him in a good position with the television networks. I’m excited to be working with him and Shane Shapiro.”
Philly Fight Night March 10th in South Philly
Peltz Promotions recently announced that they will be hosting Philly Fight Night on Friday, March 10th at the 2300 Arena in Soth Philadelphia. The main event will be between Anthony Burgin and Avery Sparrow.
Peltz Promotions announced in a press release:
We have 11 fights and 22 fighters on our March 10 card at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. Out of the 22 fighters, only one is under exclusive promotional contract to us. Two are with Top Rank, one is with Main Events and the other 18 are free agents so far as promotion is concerned. We went back to our roots, going all the way back to 1969 when promoters promoted fights, not fighters. We are not in the protection business. People pay good, hard-earned money to watch boxing. They are entitled to see good fights at every level.
The Burgin-Sparrow fight tops a full bout card at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. First fight is 7.30 pm. Tickets are priced at $40, $50 and $75 and they are on sale at the offices of Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) and at www.peltzboxing.com or www.2300Arena.com. The card is being promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., BAM Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions. It will be streamed live by www.glf.com and televised on delay by Comcast Sports Net.
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
By: Jordan Seward
With the new year approaching it’s time to reflect on the best boxing action of 2016, so in no particular order….
Orlando Salido vs Francisco Vargas
The two Mexicans treated us to a classic right up to the final bell for Vargas’ (23-0-2) WBC World Super Featherweight title. Vargas, coming off the back of Fight of the Year for 2015 faced a true, steely warrior in the 36-year-old Salido (43-13-4). It was a back-and-fourth slug fest between two champions who don’t know when to quit. In the end the pair couldn’t be separated and the judges correctly scored it a draw.
Tony Bellew vs Ilunga Makabu
The real life rocky story that saw Bellew (28-2-1) finally crowned a world champion. Just after starring in the new rocky film ‘The Bomber’ got his third bite at the cherry facing a dangerous and feared Congolese who had chalked up 18 knockouts in 19 fights. A packed crowed inside his beloved Everton football club’s stadium were stunned when Makabu (19-2) sent Bellew rolling over at the end of the first. The Everton man climbed off the canvas Balboa esque and rallied to stop Makabu in the third with a flourish of heavy punches to claim the vacant WBC World Cruiserweight strap.
Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora
This one had it all. Filled with controversy from the start these two Heavyweights threw everything but the kitchen sink. A table was thrown though. At a press conference. Which, as a result meant the British title wasn’t on the line. But after all the talk, the bad mouthing and the attempted scrapping Whyte (20-1) and Chisora (26-7) done it properly in the ring and fought out a clean and action-packed-12-rounder. Both men were rocked and absorbed a lot of punishment, but Whyte’s superior stamina was just about enough to nick it for him on the judges’ scorecard by split decision.
Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter
Thurman (27-0) was getting in the ring with probably the best opponent he’s faced. The only man to previously have defeated Porter (26-2-1) was Kell Brook, but, in a fierce competitive fight, Thurman successfully defended his WBA World Welterweight title dishing out Porter’s second loss of his career with a 115-113 unanimous decision. Although the announcement was greeted by booing, the stats suggested Thurman deservedly had his hand raised at the end, landing 43.6% of his punches while his opponent made 35.6%.
Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
The fight that everyone scored differently. It was a fight we all wanted as soon as Ward made the jump up from Super-Middleweight. The defensive suave of Ward (31-0) met the aggressive power of ‘The Krusher’ (30-1-1) at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. The American, fighting on home turf, was put down in the second round for only the second time in his illustrious career. But Ward, as Ward does, after falling behind on the cards managed to take the second half of the fight and claim Kovalev’s WBO, IBF and WBA Super World Light Heavyweight titles by unanimous decision.
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz
After unifying his IBF super-bantamweight title by outpointing Scott Quigg, the Northern Irishmen capped off his impressive year by adding Leo Santa Cruz’s (32-1-1) WBA Super World Featherweight belt. ‘The Jackal’ (23-0) jumped up a weight division and battled it out with the Mexican champion in an absolute barn burner. After a hard and punishing 12 rounds it went to the judges’ scorecards and Frampton, was given the nod. Now, just for us, they’re doing it all again at the MGM Grand on the 28th January. Not a bad way to start the new year.
Hosea Burton vs Frank Buglioni
Words were exchanged between the pair in what was a heated build up to this Light-Heavyweight contest for the British title. But when the fighting started it quickly turned in to a very watchable and enjoyable scrap. Both Burton (18-1) and Buglioni (19-2-1) continuously plowed forwards, in attempts to assert their dominance. They were both taking serious damage and in the twelfth-round Burton’s chickens came home to roost. The 28-year-old was slowing down and deserved to hear the final bell but with just one minute left in the bout Buglioni landed some hurtful blows and the ref waved it off.
Thomas Williams Jr. vs Edwin Rodriguez
A fiery, hard fought contest… while it lasted. At the StubHub Center, on the undercard of Andre Berto’s knockout win against Victor Ortiz, Rodriguez, (28-2) displayed courage, grit, determination, and, a chin. In this two-rounder, it was Williams Jr (20-2) who was landing the more powerful and hurtful shots but a number of times Rodriguez remained upright and proudly came firing back. In the end, it took a monster left hook to knock the resolute 31-year-old out.
Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook
As far as unexpected fights go, this one took the biscuit. You couldn’t have called it. This was not a fight many had in mind, but, when it was made it was all the talk. The IBF World Welterweight champion, Brook, jumped up two weight division to face the feared Middleweight kingpin at the O2 Arena. Looking in great shape and as confident as ever the Englishman made a great start to the fight. However, as the fight went on we began to realise Brook wouldn’t be making history as Golovkin’s power started to take its toll and Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle threw in the towel stopping proceedings in the fifth round.
Anthony Crolla vs Ismael Barroso
After prizing away the WBA World Lightweight title from Darleys Perez in their second meeting, Crolla, (31-5-3)made his first defence against the man who, effectively, sent world title challenger Kevin Mitchell into retirement. As expected, the Venezuelan (19-1-2) started strong and, typical of a Joe Gallagher fighter, Crolla did not. He absorbed some early punishment and probably lost the first five rounds. It became clear after six though, that Crolla’s tactics were spot on, as the challenger noticeably began to tire. He had thrown all he had and was on empty, Crolla seized his chance and overwhelmed his opponent, eventually stopping him in the seventh.
David Haye vs Tony Bellew? There Is Only One Winner I’m Afraid
David Haye vs Tony Bellew? There Is Only One Winner I’m Afraid
By: Oz Ozkaya
Hats off to Tony Bellew. No, really. His camp has been extremely smart and effective in the way that they’ve redefined him as a fighter, and then subsequently by moving him up to Cruiserweight after the humiliating defeat he suffered at the hands of Adonis Stevenson in Quebec, Canada, back in November 2013. Almost 3 years later, and after avenging his only other loss to Nathan Cleverly before going on to win the WBC Cruiserweight title (his first), Bellew is now in a position to make a serious name for himself, as well as some serious cash with a potential match up against David ‘Haymaker’ Haye now in the pipeline.
At present, Bellew is on an 8 fight undefeated streak where 6 of those victories have come by a way of knockout. Credit to Bellew, his career record at (28-2-1) and his recent stunning defence against BJ Flores make him look like an extremely solid bet going forward. At 33 though, he, like David Haye (36), is coming to the latter stages of his career. Still, that isn’t to say that neither of them could defy the laws of physics, reinvent their styles and become a Bernard Hopkins or an Evander Holyfield.
“I’m not going to go back down to a less-glamorous division than the one I’m in now for a loud-mouthed guy like him,” said Haye when asked about the possibility of fighting Bellew in the future. However, Bellew would much rather face Haye at cruiserweight, despite his promoter Eddie Hearn believing that if the right money is on the table then Bellew would step up no doubt. It doesn’t surprise me to here Hearn talk in such a way, particularly as both of these men have been longing for a big pay day for quite some time. Bellew did, however, manage to sell out Goodison Park in Liverpool earlier on this year when he emphatically knocked out Illungu Makabu after 3 rounds for his current WBC world title.
Regardless of the weight issue, the fight is still undoubtedly going to happen. Firstly, Haye is yet to name an opponent for his next match and with Shannon Briggs chasing him halfway across the country, to no great avail it must be said, it would appear obvious that he has been waiting for an opportunity like Bellew to come along. After his last two mediocre showdowns, where he fought opponents that nobody had ever even heard of, it would be fair to assume Haye’s loyal fans are long overdue a decent fight with a credible opponent. “A proper David Haye comeback,” some would be quick to add.
Secondly, can either of them realistically make better money anywhere else at this current moment in time? For David Haye, possibly. For Tony Bellew, no. In short, neither Cruiserweight champions Lebedev (WBA & IBF champion) and Usyk (WBO champion) hold big a enough name to be thrown into a paper view fight with Bellew. Well, maybe to a certain extent they do but not quite to the numbers that a fight with Haye would garner. We love an all-British affair over here!
For Haye, there are evidently bigger fights out there, but it seems apparent that he doesn’t believe he is ready for them just quite yet. In Haye’s mind, he knows that one more loss to a good opponent is going to be curtains for him. If he fights and beats Bellew, that sustains his career for another 6 months and keeps people guessing about his ability. This may not do him much in the divisional rankings, but in terms of stock, absolutely. Haye could have fought Wilder, Joshua, Ortiz, Browne or even the up and coming undefeated New Zealander, Joseph Parker by now if he had sought after those opportunities. However, he has been very steady. Maybe he shouldn’t be fighting, after all, he did say the Dr’s told him his shoulder was too bad to fight with after he bailed on, what were, two eagerly anticipated Tyson Fury fights.
Thirdly, and most crucially, the panache and intuition of Match Room promoter Eddie Hearn mean that he especially is definitely not going to be the one to pass up on such an opportunity. So much so, in fact, that he has already “opportunistically” booked March 4th, 2017 as a Sky Box Office date and claims Bellew-Haye would be a huge fight. Talking to the mirror.co.uk Hearn said: “Haye will be driving home [after the Bellew fight]maybe thinking ‘that’s a big fight’ as he looks on Twitter after what happened tonight, but he may want a belt instead. It would do monster business on pay-per-view. I think Tony would do it at heavyweight. I think he would look at fighting Haye rather than ‘I’ll move up and be a two-weight world champion’.” From this perspective it looks like Eddie has got all his angles covered, it will just be down to Haye’s team getting together, agreeing on figures and signing the deal that’s put in front of them.
The one thing that does throw the potential fight into doubt though is the discarded Tyson Fury’s belts after he was taken ill last week, and subsequently suspended following his cocaine shame. With Haye ranking rather highly on one of those divisional charts, there is a likelihood he may be placed in an eliminator for a future match up regarding one of the world title belts.
Back to last Saturday night, just before he got slightly over-excited in his victorious mode and started haranguing Haye who was stood at Ringside, Bellew actually produced a pretty good performance that many thought he wasn’t actually capable of. He wanted to make sure that a lot of critics and myself alike knew that he meant business. With almost a stone the difference between himself and Haye, the onus is going to be on Bellew to get into the better physical shape, as Haye will undoubtedly be the heaviest and hardest opponent he has ever before thought. With Bellew undeniably being slower and slightly less powerful than Haye, it may be up to him to find a way of bulking efficiently. Haye has much more class, experience and technique so will easily pick him off for 12 rounds if needs be.
The best way for Bellew to approach the fight with Haye will most likely have to start on the investment in camp and sparring partners. It’s an old cliché that ‘figths are won and lost in camps’ so on that advice if Bellew can get the right men in, then this will most definitely play to his advantage come that assumed fight night which is now well and truly looking likely. “I could probably beat Bellew with one punch,” said Haye, who had at first praised Bellew’s performance in the post-fight Sky interview. “I’m a heavyweight and when I hit him he will stay hit. He has no idea and he thinks that being a proper heavyweight is just about putting on a few pounds.” Haye would not be able to safely lose enough weight to fight for his old title at under 200 pounds, and that would mean Bellew coming up in weight, which only adds to Haye’s natural advantages. Only time will tell of course.
So, until that date, we shall have to wait to see what the stipulations are, where the fight is going to be and in what kind of shape they are both in come fight night. I think Haye would most likely punish him in the middle to later rounds, before going on to claim a TKO or Knockout in the closing rounds. Bellew will be most dangerous early on, as he has proved in his last two fights. It won’t be a repeat of the Chisora fight for Haye, though, and that is because largely Bellew is much more defiant, has similar height and a similar reach to that of Haye. He should be able to jab effectively and make Haye work for the victory. Nevertheless, with Haye not having really fought a “competitive” fight for (what will be) over 4 years at the time of this assumed fight, I think it is safe to say Bellew has at least some chance.
Bellew Fulfilles Dream by Beating Makabu
Tony Bellew Vs Ilunga Makabu – Fight Report
Jordan Seward reports ringside at Goodison Park
Tony Bellew (27-2-1)17ko turned his dream into a reality by knocking out Ilunga Makabu (19-2)18ko in three rounds to capture the WBC World Cruiserweight title.
After two failed attempts at a world title it was third time lucky for the Everton man, but it could have been all so different. The Bomber had to rise off the canvas like a true champ, Rocky Balboa esque if it were, after a heavy knockdown in the first round.
As Everton FC echoed around the ground the two engaged, sizing each other up. Bellew marched onto the front foot with the fans urging him on. The 33-year-old was noticeably the bigger man and had Makabu tied up on the ropes early on in the first, switching from upstairs to down at will. Then, the noise came to a sudden halt. The man from the Democratic Republic of Congo silenced the arena as he landed one single left, flush on the chin which sent Bellew rolling over. The home crowd were stunned, but their man dragged himself up off the deck to beat the eight count.
Bellew came into the second round tentative, even a jab seemed to wobble his legs. As the round went on he came into it more, edging forward and had Makabu on the ropes again landing right hooks to the head and lefts to the body. In the third round the Bomber showed his own power, backing Makabu up with a left hook. He had his man on the ropes and was patient, picking each shot carefully.
Makabu was well out of his comfort zone and looked like a sitting duck, but replied with a solid looking left of his own. The 33-year-old walked through it and landed a left to the body sending his opponent back to the ropes again. The initial left hook had rocked him. An uppercut, a chopping left and a couple of right hooks later, Makabu was out cold. Only the ropes held up his sagging body as the referee waved it off.
Tony Bellew sank to his knees in celebration, he done it, a world title in his home city. It wasn’t quite the script he had planned for sure, it was more like a Sylvester Stallone one in truth, but nonetheless the result was the same. The win ended Makabu’s 19 fight win run and is Bellew’s seventh win out of seven fights since moving up to Cruiserweight.
After the fight the new WBC World Champion said “This was a terrible camp, I had no idea how I was going to beat Makabu. But there is not a man on this planet that want’s it more than me and I scare myself, the lengths I’m willing to go, I was willing to die tonight. There was no way I was losing at Goodison Park; my career would have been over.
“When I went down I wasn’t hurt, but he broke my nose immediately and he punches like a truck believe me, but there is so much punishment I can take and give at Cruiserweight. Losing was not an option, it didn’t go according to plan but everything I have ever dreamed of came true and I cannot believe it. I am the best Cruiserweight in the world and now I want Denis Lebedev and I want to unify the division before the end of the year”.