WBC World cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew says he has began talks with David Haye over an all-British blockbuster showdown that could see the Liverpudlian move up to heavyweight to fight his bitter rival.
The two fighters have exchanged a war of words in recent weeks, after Bellew branded the London fighter a "Bermondsey bitch" ahead of his world title fight with Ilunga Makabu, and again, after being crowned world champion at the third attempt.
And now the 33-year-old is ready to fight Haye, who exited retirement at the beginning of the year, after the heavyweight threw back criticism at Bellew, posting a strong message to the cruiserweight via his Instagram account.
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There have been many critics of Haye's opposition upon his return to the ring, but not many bigger than Bellew, who branded his opponents as "clowns". But the world champion is now ready to end speculation of a potential bout in the near future, and agree a fight which will allow the pair to do their talking in the ring.
"We are in talks. The two of us are speaking at the moment and we'll see where it goes but I want to fight the 'Haye-faker'," Bellew told Sky Sports.
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"I'd say Hayemaker but it's 'Haye-faker' because he's pulled out of that many fights over the last few years. He ran scared - absolutely petrified from Tyson Fury - not once, but twice.
"He pulls out of that many fights and he then actually goes on to fight clowns to be honest. Mark De Mori and the other guy Lurch (Arnold Gjergjaj) - it was just ridiculous the last two opponents he's had."
Fury has not forgiven Haye since the Bermondsey-born fighter pulled out of two fights against the Lancastrian back in 2013, due to a cut above the eye that forced a multi-million pound sell-out fight at the Manchester Arena be cancelled. And Haye's return to the ring has been dubbed farcical.
World title fight
De Mori and Gjergjaj lasted a total of three rounds between them, as Haye breezed past his two opponents, while he continues his search for a world title fight, preferably with Anthony Joshua, and a return to the number one spot in the heavyweight division.
But with Haye making a slow return to the top of the 200lbs division, after his controversial return to the ring, he will be keen to make a big British fight happen between himself and Bellew.
"He wouldn't use them as sparring partners so I'm happy to fight 'Haye-faker' any time, any place, it doesn't really matter to me." Bellew added.
"I was over 15st when I got in the ring with Ilunga Mukabu so there's no issue there."
Bellew is confident that a fight with Haye would end in the same sorry way it did for his last opponent, Makabu, who suffered just the second defeat of his career after being struck a shock third round knockout.
"Believe you me when I say, if I hit David Haye with the same left hook I hit Ilunga Mukabu with, he will go to sleep exactly the same way." Bellew insisted.
Meanwhile, Haye has vowed the WBC welterweight champion will be "smashed to bits", if the two meet in the ring later this year.
Haye is likely to remain in the heavyweight division, as he aims for a return to face the very best in the division, while Bellew recently told Sky Sports: "We can do it at heavyweight. It's not an issue."
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