After retiring former cruiserweight and heavyweight titleholder David Haye on Saturday night, Tony Bellew 30-2-1 (20) is looking to drag another fighter out of retirement to face him in his next bout.
The 35-year-old Liverpudlian, who battered the ageing Haye for almost five rounds before referee Howard Foster mercifully stopped the bout, has announced he will be targeting former pound-for-pound number one Andre Ward. The 34-year-old former super middleweight and light heavyweight world champion retired last year with an unbeaten career record of 32-0 (16).
The other boxer Bellew wants a piece of is lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who is set to return to the ring from a two-and-a-half year exile next month.
“I need a world title or a big, huge name,” said Bellew.
But first Bellew has to convince his family to let him continue to box.
“They all want me to retire, but I’m going to fight on – it’s not time to stop yet,” he said.
“I would love to knock Tyson Fury out and I know I can,” said Bellew.
It didn’t take long for the outspoken “Gypsy King” to respond to Bellew.
“On a serious note, how long do you think it would take me to walk through Tony Bellew without defending myself?” Fury asked his followers on Instagram.
“I don’t think he could beat me with both my hands behind my back. He would get tired after five or six punches. He is an old dosser; all he is good for is to be my opponent.
“If you’re out there Tony, after I knock you out in one round, I’ll give you a job cleaning my shoes.”
Saturday night’s fight at London’s O2 Arena puts an end to the Bellew-Haye rivalry. In their first fight in March last year Bellew stopped Haye in 11 rounds after the “Hayemaker” ruptured his Achilles tendon in the middle rounds and was unable to finish the fight on his feet. In that fight, Haye won the early rounds before the injury destroyed his mobility and made him a sicking duck for Bellew’s power punches.
This time around, there was no controversy.
“This is a very unforgiving sport,” said Bellew. “Boxing does no favours to fighters who are over 35, he does not have the speed and explosiveness anymore.”
Haye was magnanimous in defeat.
“Bellew boxed a great fight. He did some clever stuff. I didn’t. He had a great game plan and I had no answer,” he said.