Boxing: Bellew proves to be Haye's Achilles' heel

Tony Bellew pinning fellow Briton David Haye against the ropes. He upset the odds to put himself in contention for a title shot.
Tony Bellew pinning fellow Briton David Haye against the ropes. He upset the odds to put himself in contention for a title shot.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Tony Bellew has put himself in contention for a shot at world heavyweight boxing champions Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

Bellew, the World Boxing Council (WBC) cruiserweight champion, stepped up a division to stop fellow Briton David Haye in the 11th round of a non-title heavyweight fight on Saturday that took a dramatic turn in the sixth round, when Haye suffered a suspected Achilles injury.

The upset leaves Bellew, who told BBC Radio yesterday that he himself fought with a broken hand, with plenty of options, after Haye was stopped for the first time since 2004 in his third career defeat.

Hearn believes Bellew's future is at heavyweight and is sure of making fights against American Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, or New Zealand's World Boxing Organisation (WBO) title holder Parker, who defends his belt against Briton Hughie Fury on May 6.

"He's just beaten one of the best heavyweights in the world so do you want to go back down to cruiserweight or fight Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker?" Hearn said after the fight in front of a sell-out crowd at London's O2 Arena. "I think we could bring Wilder or Parker to the UK. This fight has done great numbers and they aren't going to get that money anywhere else."

Bellew insisted he had not decided on his next move, which included the option of a rematch against Haye. "We'll evaluate everything on Monday morning, but the salt and pepper are on my side of the table next time," said the 34-year-old. "I've just come down to his backyard, now he can come to mine."

From the sixth round, Haye was left dragging his injured right foot behind him and was a sitting duck.

Bellew showed no mercy, flooring the 36-year-old in the seventh round and then sending him crashing through the ropes in the 11th round, prompting trainer Shane McGuigan to throw in the towel.

"The biggest one-punching heavyweight couldn't put a dent in me," said Bellew.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2017, with the headline 'Bellew proves to be Haye's Achilles' heel'. Print Edition | Subscribe