By Keith Idec
Tony Bellew will have to wait five more months to prove his upset of David Haye wasn’t a fluke caused by Haye’s Achilles’ injury.
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced Tuesday that their rematch has been rescheduled for May 5 at 02 Arena in London. The British rivals were supposed to square off again December 17 at 02 Arena, but their rematch was postponed two weeks ago, when Haye revealed he suffered yet another injury, this time a torn left biceps in what he called “a freak accident” during a conditioning session on stairs.
“I’m pleased to get a new date in the diary and I look forward to giving boxing fans a great night on May 5,” Bellew told Sky Sports. “To be honest, I was looking forward to a great victory in December and a relaxing family break over Christmas. But my mind is still very much on this fight and I will punish him for that.”
Bellew beat Haye, an injury-plagued former WBA heavyweight champion, by 11th-round technical knockout March 4 at 02 Arena. The 37-year-old Haye suffered a ruptured right Achilles’ tendon in the sixth round, though, and was hobbled for the remainder of their fight.
The 35-year-old Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs), who endured a broken right hand on his way to winning that bout, dropped Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) once apiece in the sixth and 11th rounds before it was stopped. The former WBC cruiserweight champion wants to produce an even more convincing victory in their rematch.
“I now have a very clear plan for 2018 and that is to knock out David Haye,” Bellew said, “and then knock out Tyson ‘Stavros Flatley’ Fury, and end both their careers.
“But first thing’s first. I need to rid the sport of David Haye on May 5, and I look forward to doing this in what I believe will be an explosive fight.”
Haye underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair his biceps injury and should be able to resume training following six weeks of rehabilitation.
“Tony has boasted that the rematch gives him the opportunity to force me into retirement,” Haye said. “Unquestionably, I step into the ring on Saturday, May 5, with both my career and legacy on the line. After my freak accident down a stairwell last month, I was heartbroken not to give everyone the ending to 2017 I wanted. Since then I had to accept the cards I had been dealt, remain positive and focus on factors which are within my control – rehabilitation and rescheduling the fight.
“Over the past five years, I’ve had a number of challenges to overcome, but learned often during times of adversity we learn and grow. As a result, come May 5, Tony will be faced with a more experienced and more determined opponent.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.