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No love lost as Haye takes aim at 'delusional' opponent

By David East

Published 26/11/2016

War footing: David Haye is ready to do battle with Tony Bellew
War footing: David Haye is ready to do battle with Tony Bellew

Heavyweight David Haye has told Tony Bellew to expect a war when the pair fight in London on March 4.

The pair, who have had an ongoing war of words, will clash after they had to be separated by security following Bellew's defence of his WBC World Cruiserweight title against BJ Flores in October.

They will fight at the O2 in London and Haye took aim at Bellew, who was in last year's Rocky spin-off film Creed, and insisted he is "delusional" about his victory chances.

"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," said Haye.

"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 at The O2 in London 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."

Former two-weight world champion Haye returned from a three-and-a-half year absence from the ring in January with a first round win over Mark De Mori and beat Arnold Gjergjaj four months later.

He unified the cruiserweight division in 2008 and added the WBA World Heavyweight Championship 18 months later against Nikolai Valuev - becoming the second boxer in history to win world titles at both weight divisions.

Bellew became a world champion when he beat Ilunga Makabu to win the WBC Cruiserweight title at Goodison Park in May and vowed to knock out Haye.

"I've backed him into a corner, left him nowhere to go, and now I have what I want," said Bellew. "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.

"He hasn't been in a hard fight for over five years. Everyone knows I get off the floor and I fight until the finish. I know the minute it gets tough for David Haye, he's going to spew it.

"He thinks he can beat me up in one round with one hand. He's in for a rude awakening, because if this fight gets hard, and I expect it to be the hardest night of my life, this clown expects a walk in the park and he's in for a bad night."

Meanwhile, Orlando Cruz will become the first openly gay world boxing champion if he defeats Terry Flanagan to win the WBO lightweight title in Cardiff on Saturday night.

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican has fought nine times since coming out in 2012 and says he hopes his success will give others the courage to open up about their sexuality.

Belfast Telegraph

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