June 6, 2017
June 6, 2017
Tony Bellew

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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TONY BELLEW shocked David Haye, and the boxing world, when he moved up to heavyweight and defeated the Londoner at the O2 in March.

Bellew injured his hand in that fight but has been ticking over and resumed punching in training over the last two weeks. He expects to fight in November or December. “It could even be October. It’ll be within the last three months of the year without a shadow of a doubt,” he told Boxing News.

That unlikely triumph has taken Tony to a whole new level of stardom, which he is having to adjust to. “I’m just a normal fella trying to do the best I can day to day,” he said. “I’m just this normal dad who loves his kids as every other father does.”

Whoever his next opponent is, now his next fight will be a major event in British boxing. “Even my own expectations, I’ve surpassed them. I’m a pay-per-view fighter, stand alone as a pay-per-view fighter. I don’t need another big name to become a pay-per-view fighter. I’ve done that all on my own.  I’m happy about that, yes, but that also brings other pressures. The media spotlight now has just become absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “I’d like to create some kind of legacy, do something that my city’s never seen, like the Goodison Park fight. I won’t go back to Goodison but I want to leave a legacy. Heavyweight champion of the world would leave the greatest legacy my city’s ever seen. I’m willing to run the risk. Am I good enough? I don’t know. To be totally honest with you I don’t know if I’m good enough. But I’m willing to give it a go.”

He has narrowed his decision down to two preferred options. “I’m not going to be stupid and take on the giants of the division,” he revealed. “I haven’t come this far in my career and survived the night I’ve survived without special thought.

“I’ve got three or four options, if the truth be known but in my eyes there are only two options that I really like and there’s only two options that mean anything and one of those options is Joseph Parker and the only reason he’s an option is because he’s WBO heavyweight champion of the world. And the other option is do a rematch and give this guy [David Haye] a second chance.”

He explained, “I said I would, even though, let’s not forget, he laughed at me when I said that to him at the press conference. ‘Don’t worry I’m a nice guy, I’ll give you a rematch.’ I meant it. I always knew I’d beat him. Everything I said in the build-up happened. I said his body would fall apart and break down. What happens is you can’t live the lifestyle he’s been living for two years and expect to come back into a hard fight. It was getting to the point of becoming a hard fight physically, especially for him. He’d been in two mismatches on his comeback, then he picks me.

Tony Bellew

“I said he would start fast, he would try and aim for a one punch knockout, and then when it didn’t work his body would start to close down on him. Because you cannot take breaks from this sport. You have to live it. Everything happened that I said would happen. I can’t predict his Achilles injury, I’m good but I’m not that good. [But] I said his body would fail. It’s all good saying I’m going out on the town tonight but I’m not drinking. But your body’s not going to forgive you for the late nights and early starts. You’ve got to look after your body. He can go on about, ‘Oh I’m an athlete, I eat the right foods.’ But you’ve got to live the sport. It’s not just about having a great diet and a fantastic body, it’s about living the sport the right way and treating your body the right way. You can go on about me being fat, but I’ve lived a clean life.”

But the rematch with David Haye can only happen under one condition. “If it’s a rematch then so be it. We’ve had talks recently and his comment was I will not fight him, I haven’t got the bottle to face him again. I’ll tell you right now, you’re the first guys who have got the interview, I will fight him as long our deal is reversed,” Bellew said. “So he’s got to take the deal that I took for the first fight. That is the only way the fight’s happening. There is no debating. There are no negotiations to take place. He’s got to flip the deal round and it’s as simple as that. That is the only way the rematch is happening and if he doesn’t then so be, I’ll fight Joseph Parker for the heavyweight championship of the world.”

There’s a kind of poetic justice to forcing Haye to accept the same terms Bellew was obliged to take. “If you think that’s fair, then I’m sure the public will think that’s fair. Because at the end of the day I don’t need David Haye. David Haye needs me. I’m the boy that spanked David Haye against all the odds. This guy thought he was just going to walk in the ring, hit me with a jab and knock me out, they’re his words not mine,” Bellew continued.

“I’ll do him even quicker next time.”