Promoter Eddie Hearn has outlined his plans for WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew, which include a massive all-UK clash with heavyweight contender David Haye in 2017.
Bellew, 33, won the famous green strap with a bludgeoning win over Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park on May 29 and immediately turned his attention to a money-spinning catchweight encounter with Haye.
As Haye is tied up with a commitment to Shannon Briggs in September, Hearn is willing to wait for ‘The Hayemaker’ and sound out a unification for Bellew before a potential pay-per-view blockbuster next spring.
“Tony is 33 and the Haye fight is so big financially, compared to other fights out there, that it is something you’ve got to take seriously,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“You have to remember, Tony came down to 200 pounds and would probably have preferred to fight at 210 against Ilunga Makabu. Can Haye get down to 210 or thereabouts? Probably.
“I can’t see Haye manoeuvring a shot at heavyweight just yet, and he wants big money fights. He can’t get on Sky Box Office but he can if he fights Bellew.
“For Tony, he really wants a high-profile name at cruiserweight or a unification fight in September and then he could move on to the Haye fight in February or March next year.”
Haye, 35, has won both of his comeback fights in 2016 with minimal fuss since spending four years in the wilderness but has been criticised in some quarters for the lack of resistance from his opposition.
A fight with Bellew would be seen as a step up from Mark de Mori, Arnold Gjergjaj, Briggs and the like, plus could be another huge football stadium contest for Hearn to bring to the table for the British fans.