Tony Bellew caused a huge upset by stepping up two weight divisions and stopping an incapacitated David Haye in the 11th round in a gripping, all-British heavyweight grudge fight at the O2 Arena on Saturday.
Haye, on his third fight in his boxing comeback, appeared to injure his right achilles in the sixth round but fought on courageously despite virtually being a sitting target.
Bellew, the WBC cruiserweight champion, showed patience in picking his moment to finish off Haye and the end came in the close stages of the 11th with a flurry of punches that sent his rival out of the ring. Haye hobbled back into the ring, but his corner threw in the towel.
The 36-year-old Haye's career looks in jeopardy after a third loss in his career. Bellew was giving up 11 pounds and fighting his first professional bout at heavyweight.
After the fight was over, Haye pleaded to get a rematch with Bellew - even if it meant traveling to Liverpool.
"I did not expect him to have the chin and the durability that he has,” Haye told Sky Sports. “Bellew, by far, was the better fighter tonight. I believe I’m more gifted but he had a bigger heart tonight. He took my best shots, got back up, and put me down," Haye said.
"I’ve never been in a fight like that before. He’s the man. I want to get a rematch. Hopefully he will give me a rematch and we can do it whatever he wants, Liverpool. There was no rematch clause, I'm at his mercy. I can't think of world titles now. Before I can even think of that, I have to go through this man."