Tony Bellew agrees to face David Haye on May 5, targets Tyson Fury
It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . and then it wasn’t.
The cancellation of Tony Bellew’s December 17 rematch against David Haye took some of the festive luster off the British boxing calendar, but the good news is the bout has been rescheduled for May 5 at the O2 Arena in London.
In March, Bellew, who is rated No. 10 by THE RING at heavyweight, sensationally stopped Haye in 11 rounds. The Liverpool man survived the early sessions and then came on down the stretch when Haye rupture his Achilles tendon in the sixth.
A direct rematch was a natural, but it fell through when Haye damaged his bicep during a stairs drill. The Londoner has undergone surgery, but many critics believe the injury-prone former titleholder has put himself through one training camp too many.
“I’m confident that the fight will go ahead,” said Bellew in an interview with Sky Sports News. “I’m giving him a long time to recover from this injury. It’s (five) months today. My plan is to meet David Haye head on, get rid of him and then turn my attention to Tyson Fury.
“I was looking forward to beating David Haye again and enjoying Christmas with my family but he’s messed all that up. I hope he recovers. I really do. Enjoy Christmas, do whatever you’ve got to do but understand, on May 5th, the David Haye story is going to be over.”
Bellew is a former WBC cruiserweight titleholder who has twice challenged for light heavyweight belts during a 10-year professional career. Surely, the loquacious boxer-puncher would be physically overmatched against a modern super heavyweight like Fury, who weighs in around the 250-pound mark?
“Styles make fights and Tyson Fury is not the most concussive puncher,” countered Bellew. “His strengths are his speed and his awkwardness. I believe I’m a bigger puncher than Tyson Fury, so the only issue is the weight and the size and there’s ways to combat that.
“I’ve made a case why I can’t fight the likes of Deontay Wilder, but Fury isn’t a hard puncher and boxing is all about timing. Timing is everything and I believe that right now, in the position I’m in, with the momentum I’m coming with, that I can beat Tyson Fury.”
Before a Fury-Bellew fight can be deemed realistic, Fury will have to get through a UKAD hearing and be relicensed by the British Boxing Board of Control. Bellew, for his part, will have to overcome Haye for a second time and should his nemesis enter the ring at anything resembling full fitness, that remains one very dangerous assignment.
“I’m feeling really good and I’ve had my stitches out,” said Haye. “I’m doing some rehabilitation and everything is going to plan. I’ve had plenty of injuries in my career and I’ve managed to get over all of them. This is just another small hurdle to overcome.
“Come fight night, I’ll be the best I can be. Before the accident, I was in eerily good shape and everything was going so well. It was just sod’s law that something unfortunate had to happen. I know the formula now. I know why the training camp went so well, so it’s just more of the same.
“I’m not looking to just win this fight. I want to make a statement and prove to the world that I’m an elite heavyweight.”
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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