By Allan McGoldrick / @AMCGUK
It was repeat defeat for Heavyweight David Haye (28-4, 26 KOs) at the O2 Arena on Saturday night as Tony Bellew (30-2, 20 KOs) secured his second win in 14 months over the former two weight world champion.
Bellew, who beat Haye in their first encounter in March 2017, knocked Haye down twice in the third en route to the stoppage in the fifth.
In this all British grudge match, Haye had said previously, if he lost he would retire. Bellew to had previously warned this would be the end of the Haymaker.
The opening round was a cautious approach from both and Haye was looking relaxed and unwilling to get involved close up, using his jab to good effect whilst Bellew looking to counter and time Haye’s approaches.
Round two and Bellew had come out cutting down the ring quicker and throwing some quick combinations stepping up the pressure, Haye appearing to look for the big right hand to no avail followed this time by some successful body shots on Bellew.
Haye’s team were warned for having to many of his team in his corner at the start of the third round. Bellew started to up the pace and Haye again starting to look flat footed as if his legs are not moving as fast as he would like.
Bellew continues to produce some big punches and this time floors Haye heavily in the corner when they traded hooks at close range.
Rising unsteadily, Haye could not keep Bellew at bay, as he is dropped for the second time after another flurry of shots.
In the fourth Bellew looks for the finish but somehow Haye is still swinging looking increasingly aggravated by some sort of injury or fatigue.
Round five an exchange of punches in the centre of the ring sees Bellew’s left hook floor Haye heavily and referee Howard Foster stops Haye on his feet possibly signalling the end of an illustrious career, and cementing the reputation of his counterpart.
Haye with four fights in six years, and a catalogue of injuries, it appeared to show however the development of Tony Bellew unbeaten since his 2013 defeat to Adonis Stevenson is on a ten fight winning streak. Tony Bellew is a fighter getting better with age and it is no coincidence with his addition of trainer Dave Caldwell in his corner.
Bellew dedicated his victory to his late brother in law whom he lost in August last year and had the name Ashley stitched in to his shorts for fight night.
Post fight both boxers where very gracious to each other Haye saying. “Tony boxed a great fight, he did some really clever stuff in there. He boxed good, and I didn’t, it’s that simple.
Bellew went on to say. “David Haye is an amazing fighter, we just got into a slugfest. Age is a factor with his style. He goes down as a better fighter than me. But I won, against all the odds. I was willing to be finished off in this ring tonight, I’m struggling bad but I’ve done it, and that’s all that matters.
“I lost my brother-in-law in August – his dad’s here tonight, and I swear he was with me too. Ashley, I love you, mate. He’s been on my mind the whole time, I miss him so much. I’m broke, I’m just broke.”
Elsewhere on the card:
James Tennyson (22-2, 18 KO’s) stopped Martin J. Ward (19-1-2, 9 KOs) in the fifth round to claim the Commonwealth and European super featherweight title to add to his WBA International title.
Olympic silver medal winner and Commonwealth Gold, Joe Joyce (4-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Lenroy Thomas (22-5-1, 10 KOs) in two rounds to win the Commonwealth heavyweight title.
In a super middleweight contest, John Ryder (26-4, 14 KOs) knocked out Jamie Cox (25-2, 14 KOs) in two rounds.
IBF Bantamweight title, Emmanuel Ridriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) beat Paul Butler (26-2, 14 KOs) by a one sided unanimous victory.
Butler failed to make weight (3.5lbs over) on Friday, making him ineligible to win the vacant IBF bantamweight title, a belt he previously won.
In a super lightweight contest Luke Campbell (18-2, 15 KOs) stopped Troy James (20-6-1, 5KOs) in the 5th round of a sixth round contest.by