Tony Bellew and David Haye to fight in all-British grudge match on March 4
Tony Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs) and David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) will fight in an all-British heavyweight clash on March 4 at the O2 Arena in London.
Following an ongoing war of words, Bellew jumped out of the ring and confronted Haye after defending his WBC cruiserweight title with a third-round knockout victory over BJ Flores in October.
Bellew, 33, captured the vacant WBC belt in May when he climbed off the canvas to stop Ilunga Makabu in three rounds, and the Liverpudlian will now make his heavyweight debut against 36-year-old Haye, who has previously held world titles at cruiserweight and is a former WBA heavyweight champion.
Haye returned to the ring after a three-and-a-half-year absence with easy knockout wins over Mark de Mori in January, and Arnold Gjergjaj in May, but Bellew should provide the Londoner with his toughest challenge since his comeback.
Haye said: "The public demand for me to violently knockout Tony Bellew was simply too strong. The country is fed up of his constant yapping. Even in his home town of Liverpool, I would be stopped in the street by people begging me to spectacularly send him into retirement.
"Bellew is completely delusional if he thinks he can beat me. He still thinks he’s on the set of ‘Creed’ and there will be some kind of Rocky style happy ending. But come March 4, I will bring reality crashing down on him.
"I’ve earned my credentials the hard way inside the ring, not on film sets. There will be no second takes, no stunt men taking the blows and no flashing lights on the red carpet, the only lights Bellew will see are those of the spot lights shining down on him when he wakes up from his nap on the canvas."
Bellew said: "I’ve backed him into a corner, left him nowhere to go, and now I have what I want. I’m not under any illusions, I know exactly what I am going up against, it’s big risk, big reward.
"I cop him with my best punch, he's going to sleep. He cops me with his best punch, more than likely I am going to sleep too. I know what I am up against but the big factor for me is, I’m a very active fighter. I’ve had no breaks and I’ve got very little wear and tear on me. If it comes down to a question of heart and determination I win hands down. If it comes down to one punch, it’s a 50-50."