Tony Bellew was the underdog last year when he stopped David Haye, and this time he made good on his word, repeating in even more emphatic fashion.
Bellew dropped Haye three times en route to a fifth round stoppage today in London, improving to 30-2-1 (20 KO) with the victory.
Haye (28-4, 26 KO) started pretty nicely, landing some solid right hands in the first two rounds, both of which he won on the BLH scorecard. But Bellew was patient and had a clear game plan, and he stuck to it. Late in the third round, he landed some clubbing blows that put Haye down, and he did it again before the round closed, right at the bell, scoring a second knockdown.
Bellew stayed confident going into the fourth round, and boxed well, not taking big risks, while Haye was reduced to taking wild swings, missing badly repeatedly. Bellew won the fourth, then found an increasingly tired Haye wide open, throwing a wild left hook, countering with his own hook which caught Haye flush and dropped him for a third time.
Haye did get up to fight on, but Bellew landed a few shots on the wobbly 37-year-old veteran, and referee Howard Foster stepped in to stop the bout at 2:14 of the fifth round.
“David Haye is an amazing fighter, take nothing away. He just got into a slugfest tonight and we hurt each other. I was hurt in that fight,” Bellew said. “Speed and timing decreases with age, power doesn’t. He goes down as a better fighter than me. He’s a better fighter, a legend of the sport. I’m just happy I’ve won, man. Against all odds again.”
“It’s over,” he said of the story with Haye. “I’ve always admired David. But styles make fights.”
Asked who he wants to fight next, Bellew wasn’t sure, with mentions of the cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series and heavyweight Dillian Whyte mentioned as possibilities. Bellew also called out Andre Ward.
“I have no idea,” promoter Eddie Hearn said of what’s next for Bellew.
- Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KO) dropped Paul Butler (26-2, 14 KO) twice and owned the ring over 12 rounds, claiming the vacant IBF bantamweight title. Butler had missed weight for the fight so he couldn’t win the title anyway. But now 118 has a new titleholder and a new top name in the division in the 25-year-old Rodriguez out of Puerto Rico.
- James Tennyson (22-2, 18 KO) came off the canvas in the second round to drop Martin J. Ward (19-1-2, 9 KO) two times in the fifth, stopping him there and claiming the European and Commonwealth super featherweight titles.
- John Ryder (26-4, 14 KO) stopped Jamie Cox (25-2, 14 KO) in the second round of a super middleweight bout.
- Joe Joyce (4-0, 4 KO) stayed perfect as a pro and won the Commonwealth heavyweight title with a second round TKO win over Jamaican veteran Lenroy Thomas (22-5-1, 10 KO).