Back in 2018, former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew called for a heavyweight clash with Tyson Fury. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Fury had just returned to the sport in June of that year, after two and a half years away from the ring.
Bellew had already moved up to heavyweight in 2017, and blew away former champion David Haye in the fifth round of their rematch in May of 2018.
Bellew was engaged in a wild war of words with Fury during that time period.
The fight never took place and they went in different directions that fall.
Fury fought Deontay Wilder to a controversial twelve round split draw that December, and Bellew went back to the cruiserweight division and was knocked out by Oleksandr Usyk in November. Bellew retired afterwards.
Bellew was in awe of what he witnessed last Saturday night, when Fury battered and stopped Wilder in the seventh round of their rematch to capture the WBC heavyweight crown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"It was a stunning win by Tyson Fury against Deontay Wilder on Saturday night, and although I always believed that Tyson would get the job done late on or by points, I had no idea that the victory would be so emphatic and that he'd dominate the fight from the outset the way he did. The fight was effectively over as a contest from the third round as Wilder just didn't look right after that and Tyson made sure he punished him before coming away with the heavyweight title," Bellew told Sky Sports.
"There was a time when Fury was a fighter on my radar and you can go back to a number of interviews from a few years where I made it clear I wanted to fight him. I was in the best form of my career and after winning a world title at cruiserweight, I'd made the move to heavyweight to take on David Haye. I believed I had a lot of advantages over some other heavyweights and that I could compete with some of them and after taking some big shots off Haye, I thought I belonged there.
"The reason the Tyson fight appealed more than most was because I thought I was getting him at the right time in our respective careers. I was on a brilliant run where I felt great and Tyson was coming back from a long three-year lay-off where it wasn't known just how good he could be again. I believed he was going to be rusty, out of shape, and perhaps not have the same hunger that he had when going to Germany to defeat Wladimir Klitschko. Based on what I saw Saturday night, if that version of Tyson turned up then I wouldn't have stood a single chance against him."