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Tony Bellew: I Hate Fame, Just Want To Be Normal

By Elliot Foster

Tony Bellew is looking forward to just becoming a normal guy.

The Liverpool man is a former WBC cruiserweight champion and is returning to the 200-pound division when he takes on Oleksandr Usyk.

Bellew faces the Ukrainian in a challenge for the WBC, WBA Super, IBF and WBO world titles at Manchester Arena on Saturday, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN Stateside, with the Ring Magazine bauble also at stake.

And having earmarked this one, for all the marbles, as the final one, the 35-year-old says he is excited to do ordinary things for the first time in his life, having been in boxing for more than 20 years.

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“It’s over and there are underlying reasons and factors why it has to be over,” Bellew, who said he would reveal all after the fight, intriguingly told reporters. “Getting home safe is the greatest thing to me and this is the first time I’ve been in a fight of this magnitude and I’ve felt zero pressure.

“The first David Haye fight, I went in feeling no pressure. The second fight, I felt a little bit of pressure because I had to prove to people that the injury he suffered in the first fight played no part in the result, so that brought a bit of pressure to me.

“Coming into this fight, I’ve been written off that much and people just tell me that I’ve no chance that much that I genuinely feel no pressure and, if I’m being honest, I think he’s feeling it more now.

“He understands the magnitude of the fight and the more and more he looks into my eyes, he understands and it’s like he’s looking in the mirror and sees someone with a screw loose. He’s definitely got a screw loose but so have I.”

The chain of events which followed May’s rematch stoppage victory over former WBA world champion Haye are well documented.

From retirement to honeymoon following his marriage to childhood sweetheart Rachael to covert late-night calls to Dave Coldwell and Eddie Hearn about how he can beat the man who called his name, Bellew knew there would have to be one last rodeo.

"I am about to take the biggest step that any British fighter has ever taken," he added. "I can lose this fight, no mistakes about it, and I think it will detract a little bit from me if that was to happen, but I can accept it.

“This is the first time in my career that I can accept losing and that’s because I couldn’t accept retiring and saying: ‘He called my name,’ and I declined the chance to become the undisputed champion of the world.”

Bellew, who visited an amateur training camp in Ukraine more than a decade ago and confessed to “getting pinged”, now has eyes on not only claiming all the hardware the weight class has to offer but also fitting into society like he did as a 12-year-old travelling via two buses to Rotunda ABC.

“I don’t want to be famous anymore. On November 15, I’m changing my number and I’m going to disappear.

“I’ve made a great life for myself. I live in a f***ing boss house, I drive a boss car, my bird drives a boss car, my kids have got vehicles on the driveway, for f**k’s sake. It’s nuts but I’ve got a boss life. I don’t even know why I do what I do.

“I just want to be normal now. I just want to live. What other people take for granted is what I want to get. I just hate fame and I just have to go missing for 12 months.

“But on Saturday night, I meet a man with exceptional talent in a fight that can’t get any bigger than this. He has everything I have except one thing –– I can switch someone's lights out in one second.

"I learned that at school and I can still do it now. I switch people's lights off in the blink of an eye."

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