Fresh from an eye-catching stoppage of BJ Flores on Saturday night, world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew spoke to WBN about his performance, along with a possible future fight with UK rival David Haye.
The 33 year-old made a successful first defence of his WBC title at the Echo Arena in his hometown of Liverpool, stopping the veteran American in three painful rounds to extend his winning run at 200 pounds to eight in a row.
Talk immediately shifted to a potential move up to heavyweight for Bellew, who wanted to prove a point to Haye by becoming the first fighter in 36 bouts to get the Sky analyst’s friend and training partner out of there early.
“I thought I was a bit reckless and I wasn’t my best but I got the job done,” Bellew exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I felt what he had in the first round. I gave him that first round because I wanted to see if he was up to scratch, but after he hit me clean with a right hand in the first round, I thought ‘what’s all the fuss about? – let’s deal with him,’ and that’s exactly what I did.
“He’s been around plenty of top sparring camps with David Haye and Haye even said I wouldn’t be able to budge BJ Flores.
“Haye couldn’t even buzz him in sparring, so if he couldn’t budge him, and all these other spars like Klitschko and Shannon Briggs camps couldn’t budge him, what does that say? – Because I bounced him off the floor four times and it was easy work. I was happy to trade with him at the same time as well.
“You have seen what BJ Flores had done in previous fights and I just did something to him that nobody has done before.”
Publicity surrounding Bellew is at an all-time high as fans anticipate a possible British super-fight between ‘The Bomber’ and the ‘Hayemaker’, which may mean some sort of catchweight would be needed, as the champion explained.
“I’m not coming in anything over 215 for Haye,” Bellew stated. “At the moment I’m around 210 and I’m comfortable at 210 physically and in good shape. I train and spar at 210, walk around at 220 but cut to 210 taking the last ten pounds off at two pounds a week for the last five weeks.
“At the end of the day though, my career doesn’t depend on one fight. Not one fighter will define me. I’ll make my own way in this world and keep going.”
Asked if he believes Haye will accept the fight, the devout Evertonian answered: “He will accept the fight. There’s no two ways about it because I’m the money fight. I just don’t know how it’s going to work just yet. I’m actually in London now and on my way to meet Eddie. I’ll sit down, have a talk with him and we’ll go over a few things that we need to go over.
“I’m still fresh off my victory and it was a victory in the manner that nobody has seen. I told everybody I’d absolutely smash BJ Flores. I told him, I told David and told them all. It’s simple; if I connect on any cruiserweight or heavyweight in the whole world, clean and often, I’ll stop you – simple as that.
On where the Haye fight might take place and whether he’d need a warm-up in the top division, Bellew added: “I haven’t really thought about things from a logistical point of view, but the one place he’s not going to want to fight me is Liverpool.
“I think we could fill the Echo Arena a few times over though so I don’t think it’s an ideal venue that’s big enough anyway. We’d need a twenty thousand seater stadium minimum. I’m happy to go to The O2 and is Manchester Arena neutral ground? – probably – but I’m happy to do it anywhere.
“In regards to a warm-up, no I don’t need one for Haye. I showed on Saturday that I can deal with anyone as I’ve got serious power in both hands and I really don’t mind who I face.
“I just don’t think a warm-up is necessary,” said Bellew.