Tony “Bomber” Bellew has become a household name in British boxing over the last two years. From featuring in the most recent Rocky film; Creed, becoming WBC Cruiserweight champion and calling out high profile boxer and former WBA Heavyweight champion David Haye after his last fight, Bellew has been at the centre of attention in Boxing news, especially over the last twelve months.
Bellew’s last time in the ring was back in October in his hometown of Liverpool against BJ Flores with his world title on the line, a fight I was incredibly fortunate to have attended. The Liverpudlian crowd roared on Bellew with ferocity as he bombarded the American boxer and was declared winner by fourth round knockout, retaining his title for the first time. Following the fight, Tony immediately turned his attention to David Haye, who was at ringside, saying that he had been “conning the British public” since his comeback and referred to Haye as “SpongeBob”.
Tony Bellew was very amiable and agreed to answer questions I had for him:
You’ve come on a remarkable journey this past year, and some have even claimed your incredible rise to the top is like a Rocky story, which is ironic as you were in a Rocky film, did you ever believe you would reach the dizzy heights that you’ve reached and is the only way up for you in the future?
“I always believed in myself but did not believe I would be given the opportunity to do the things I have done. I continued to work hard in the dark so that I could shine under the lights. I’m a product of my environment. I come from a tough place an it made me everything I am today. My persistence and dedication is the reason I’m at the top of my profession.”
Obviously you’re locked in a heated feud with David Haye leading up to your bout with him and he’s said that the fight won’t go past the 4th round, I assume you plan to make him eat those words but what do you think of him trying to call you out and making snide comments at every opportunity?
“It could possibly end in the first 20 seconds or the last 20 seconds. Only one thing is certain here an that is I can do 12 rounds with ease an have done on many occasions. At this weight I only get stronger as the fight goes on whereas he only gets weaker, if this was a 4 round contest I’d be in trouble to be honest. The thing is though it isn’t; it’s a 12 round fight and I’m a 12 round fighter and a champion.”
During your Sky Sports press conference with Haye, Haye was seemingly avoiding speaking to you to rant about Eddie Hearn and Hearn’s ways of promoting the fight, do you think he was avoiding confrontation with you because he’s scared of you? He makes a lot of comments about you but do you think he’s putting on a face to hide that he’s actually nervous?
“He’s not scared but he’s not comfortable in my presence at all, he’s like this because I’m unpredictable. I don’t know what I’m going to do next so it’s impossible for him to know, He showed signs of panic at the presses but in my opinion it doesn’t mean a thing, only thing that matters is what happens in that ring on March 4th.”
Away from boxing for a minute and from a footballing standpoint, it’s well known you’re a huge fan of Everton. Do you think Ronald Koeman is the man to take Everton to great things in the future?
“I hope he can he has done great things as a player but nothing of any major note as a manager as of yet, hopefully he becomes a legendary Everton manager and wins the trophies the club has been wanting and pushing for since 95!”
You’re a proven and formidable Cruiserweight who’s fighting at Heavyweight, if you win on 4th March do you plan on staying at Heavyweight and fighting bigger fights or will you drop back down to Cruiserweight where you’re seemingly most comfortable?
“One fight at a time mate. Remember my life is on the line when I step through them ropes so I cannot look past this fight and this enormous challenge.”
Lastly, do you have any comments you would like to add about David Haye or the fight in general?
“He’s a brilliant athlete! As close to perfect as you’ll see in a boxing ring, if this was a race or weight lifting competition I would lose instantly, thing is it isn’t either of them… ITS A FIGHT! The good news for him is I’m slow in a race and I can’t lift much on a bench press but the bad the news for him is I CAN FIGHT and FIGHT to the end is what I’ll do.”
Strong words from an excellent and formidable boxer who seems to be relishing his showdown with Haye. Boxing fans across the country are wondering who’s going to win this bout? Can the cruiserweight fighter really overcome the heavyweight? I’ve seen people dismiss Bellew for this fight but I think he has a much stronger chance than some people are giving him credit for. I’ve seen Tony Bellew fight first hand and I believe he has the technique, stamina and power to win this fight, despite what other people say.
Now that would really be a Rocky story.
By Harry Robinson
Tony Bellew fights David Haye on the 4th March at the O2 Arena in London and on Sky Box Office.