Tony Bellew ponders his future, urges David Haye to retire
LONDON — Heavyweight Tony Bellew admitted that he is unsure about the direction of his career after his fifth-round stoppage win over David Haye on Saturday.
Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs), 35, has ruled out fighting unified heavyweight world champion and friend Anthony Joshua, and a world title shot seems unlikely.
Joshua, of England, is in talks to face American Deontay Wilder, the WBC titleholder, later this year.
Bellew, who won the WBC world cruiserweight title at Goodison Park in Liverpool two years ago, is No. 7 in the WBC heavyweight rankings and admits that there is no clear path to continue his career.
“It’s hard when you’ve had your defining moment,” Bellew said at a press conference. “But I like fighting, and I like challenges. I won’t go on too long. I will wait until I speak to my wife, and we will go from there. I haven’t got a clue.”
Bellew mentioned American Andre Ward, the former super middleweight and light heavyweight champion, as a possible future opponent. But it seems a remote possibility. as Ward, a former pound-for-pound No. 1, retired last year.
“I will beat Andre Ward. I will knock out Andre Ward,” Bellew said. “He’s a pound-for-pound king, but I will beat him.”
Tyson Fury, Bellew’s English rival who has not fought since November 2015, has been spoken about as a future opponent for Bellew. But Fury has a rival U.K. promoter and broadcaster, making the fight unlikely.
“It’s a fight I like,” Bellew said of Fury. “There’s loads of options. We will just have to see. Ward wants the fight.”
Bellew’s trainer and friend David Coldwell wanted the Liverpool-based boxer to retire after stopping Haye in the 11th round in March last year.
“I would love him to walk away, but in the gym, he’s getting better and better every camp,” Coldwell said. “He’s got such great boxing intellect. It’s hard to walk away when you are getting better, but what else is there?
“I’d like him to walk away. What else has he got to prove?”
Haye (28-4, 26 KOs), 37, did not attend the postfight press conference, and the Londoner will likely consider retirement after the injury setbacks and three losses in six fights in seven years.
Bellew urged Haye to retire after a career that saw him win world titles at heavyweight and cruiserweight.
“He will go down better than I was, but styles make fights,” Bellew said.
“I said to him, ‘Please, stop now.’ This is a very unforgiving sport. Fighters like Bernard Hopkins can go on because their style is not based on reflexes and timing. Boxing does not favor boxers over 35 who rely on reflexes. He doesn’t have the speed or explosiveness that he once had.”