icon Updated at 03:30 PM EDT, Tue Jun 12, 2018

Tony Bellew Gives High Praise To Former Foe David Haye

As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, David Haye has announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 37.

The former WBA heavyweight champion insisted he would stop fighting if he again lost to Tony Bellew in their rematch last month, and having shown significant signs of decline before being stopped in five rounds he has confirmed he no longer plans to fight on.

Haye first announced his retirement in October 2011 on his 31st birthday, before a lucrative grudge match with Dereck Chisora the following summer tempted him to return.

He was also advised to retire following surgery on his right shoulder in November 2013, but returned in January 2016 to secure two unremarkable victories and then suffer his third and fourth professional defeats, both against Bellew.

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Haye made his professional debut in 2002 and despite suffering a surprise defeat to former world champion Carl Thompson in 2004, he went on to establish himself as one of the finest cruiserweights in history by travelling to Paris and climbing off the canvas to stop the dangerous Jean-Marc Mormeck in 2007, winning his first two world titles.

A third followed in March 2008 when Haye stopped Wales’ Enzo Maccarinelli, but it was after his subsequent move into the heavyweight division that he became one of Britain’s household names.

In travelling to Germany and overcoming a significant size disadvantage to defeat Valuev and claim the WBA title in November 2009, Haye enjoyed perhaps his greatest night.

Successful title defences followed against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison before in July 2011 he was outpointed by Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, in what was then the highest-profile heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis’ victory over Mike Tyson in 2002.

Despite their animosity, Bellew issued some touching thoughts to his former rival.

"I wish him well and would like to thank him for the opportunity in the first fight," said Bellew to Sky Sports.

"He has had a fabulous career and will go down as one of the all-time British greats. Despite the pre-fight hype, I can assure you I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Tony. Whenever I traded punches with him, and whenever I was in his presence, I felt the inner warrior.

"I saw a man who would take the battle as far as necessary to get victory; a man who, like myself, would rather die than give up or quit; a man I'd want on my side of the battlefield if going to war."

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