Now the dust has settled from Tony Bellew’s cracking bout with former heavyweight champion David Haye, what’s next for the 34-year-old? Here’s 5 potential fights for Bellew.
1. A rematch with David Haye
Haye has made no secret that he wants a rematch with Bellew. The first fight drew widespread media attention (not least for both fighters’ crude comments in the build-up), which in turn led to both fighters earning a small fortune from the fight. Bellew is rumoured to have earned nearly £3 million for the fight, and a rematch would surely give Bellew a similar pay-day. Would Bellew win a rematch, however? Haye survived 6 rounds with a ruptured achilles heel- critics of Bellew argue he took too long to beat a vulnerable Haye. The lure of the rumoured money on the table, however, may be too much for the man from Liverpool.
2. Dropping back down to defend his Cruiserweight title
Bellew is still WBC Cruiserweight champion. He could move down a weight to defend his title, or maybe even aim for a unification of the WBA, IBF, WBO and WBA belts. Bellew hasn’t lost at Cruiserweight- and has looked impressive in his two Cruiserweight title bouts so far. A title defence at Goodison Park, home of his beloved Everton FC, would seem a logical next step for Bellew. At 34, now may be the time to mount a unification challenge and cement his place in British boxing history.
3. Fighting Deontay Wilder for the WBC Heavyweight title
Promotor Eddie Hearn claimed that Deontay Wilder’s representatives contacted Hearn after Bellew’s win on Saturday. This could pave the way for a Bellew-Wilder fight- possibly again at Goodison Park. Would Bellew take it though? Wilder has 37 knockouts from 38 fights and is arguably the best Heavyweight on the planet right now. Wilder may be a step too far for Bellew right now… Although some said that before his bout with David Haye.
4. Fighting Anthony Joshua for the IBF Heavyweight title
Anthony Joshua is the poster boy of British boxing right now. Joshua’s been taken past the third round just once in his 18 fight career, with a 100% knockout record. There is little doubt that this fight would capture the imagination of the boxing world- although only the most optimistic Bellew supporter can see Joshua losing this one. The fight would depend on the result of the Joshua vs Klitschko fight on April 29th- which would spring up a number of potential fights, depending on the result. It’s unlikely to see this fight taking place in 2017.
And finally… 5. A rematch with Adonis Creed
Bellew played a leading role in the 2015 film Creed, the latest in the Rocky franchise. He fought Adonis Creed at the end of the film- with a sequel in production right now. Bellew was surprisingly convincing as “Pretty Boy” Ricky Conlan- and the climax of the film suggests a rematch could be on the cards.