Tony Bellew once again repeated his heroics against David Haye with a fifth-round knockout in their heavyweight rematch at London’s O2 Arena.
In 2017, It took Tony Bellew 11 rounds to stop David Haye in their original clash at Goodison Park 14 months ago, but the fight was over as a contest by the third round after twice flooring his rival.
Haye responded valiantly – shrugging off another right leg injury and hauling himself off the canvas – and dragged his last-stand out through a punishing fourth round.
But in the fifth, moments after hitting the floor for a third time, the referee stepped in to halt the fight amid a bombardment of punches.
“It didn’t feel that great in there tonight,” said the 37-year-old Haye, who insisted before the all-British fight he would retire if he didn’t beat Bellew comfortably. “I’ll have to review the tapes and see what went wrong.”
“David Haye is an amazing fighter,” Bellew said of his opponent, who was the WBA heavyweight champion in 2009 having previously been world champion at cruiserweight. “I was hurt in the fight. He is a crazy fighter … with his style, age is a factor.
“He’s a better fighter, a legend of the sport. I’m just happy I won against the odds.”
Bellew was in tears after the fight and said he dedicated the win to his late brother-in-law, who died last year.
“I seriously came to the ring and was willing to be finished,” Bellew said. “I’ve cried every night in my hotel room this week.”
David Haye added: “Tony was the better man,” Haye said after his fourth loss in 32 professional fights. “I couldn’t quite make it happen. Everything happens for a reason.
“I enjoyed the battle. Tony Bellew is definitely my nemesis.”