Tony Bellew’s bid to end his boxing career as the world cruiserweight champion was thwarted after he was beaten by Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night.
The Ukrainian, defending his WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF belts, secured an eighth-round stoppage to deny a determined Bellew at the Manchester Arena.
The Brit made a fast start and caused Usyk some trouble early on.
But he tired, and Usyk’s confidence grew.
The Cat landed a brutal left-hand blow in the eighth round to end the contest.
It means Bellew will enter retirement with a third defeat on his record, while Usyk now has his sights set on entering the heavyweight division.
“He definitely needs to fight Anthony Joshua,” Usyk’s promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, said.
Bellew spoke to David Haye
It’s easy to root for Bellew and he’s received support from the man whose career he ended.
David Haye was a pundit for Sky Sports. The former heavyweight champion, who lost in back-to-back fights to Bellew, spoke with his former foe backstage after the fight.
Footage posted on FightHype’s YouTube page shows Haye embracing Bellew.
“Ah f***ing hell, he was there! You was winning that s***,” Haye says. “You did everything humanly possible.”
Haye later spoke to iFL TV, where he revealed more details of his conversation with Bellew.
“I said, ‘you did everything you could do, you boxed great’,” Haye said. “‘You were just fighting a guy…’
“He understood that.
“He said he trained as hard as he could, he gave as much as he physically could. He just got outboxed. The class showed.”
The emotion on Bellew’s face when Haye is consoling him is clear to see.
It’s nice that the pair, who traded some revolting insults ahead of their first fight in March 2017, now appear to be on very good terms.
With both now retired, it’s highly likely they will be sharing the stage together as pundits.
Haye posted a touching tweet about Bellew after the contest.
“When all past animosity is replaced by a unique warriors bond and unwavering respect 🙏🏾✨ He who dares...always a Champ @TonyBellew and much respect to all of #TeamBellew,” the boxer-turned-manager wrote.