David Haye admits rivalry with Tony Bellew was manufactured

Dillian Whyte Press Conference

A sporting contest between two combatants for a sustained period of time is often defined as a rivalry.

Personal pride is a huge motivation to get one over someone you may not particularly like, and if there is a level of hatred, then it makes it easier to want to 'smash' your opponent.

However, in the current climate where every sport is looking for a selling point to win over the mainstream audience, there is an argument that you may have to 'embellish' the truth somewhat.

A case in point is the history between heavyweights David Haye and Tony Bellew.

For all intents and purposes, it seemed like the edge between the two fighters was very real.

From the comments between the two in the lead-up to their first bout, to the public confrontation in one of the pre-fight press conferences, there appeared to be no love or respect on either end.

Now retired, and free to air his thoughts in a more calm and considered fashion, TalkSPORT reported Haye as saying all be may not as as it seemed on face value.

“I think people just think there’s more beef than there actually is.

"I’ve never really had a problem with Tony Bellew.

Tony Bellew and David Haye Press Conference

“In the lead up to the fight, you say what you need to say to sex the fight up, but I never really wished him any harm.

"The first (fight) I had to be the villain because nobody really gave Bellew a shot, so if I didn’t make some noise, if I didn’t scream and shout then people wouldn’t have watched the fight.

“But me going over and above in terms of whacking him at the press conference, and training on a yacht in Miami and doing all the crazy stuff that were talking points, it is why it did great numbers on pay-per-view.”

Bellew got the better of Haye in both their fights.


In the first bout, the Merseysider won via TKO after Haye suffered an Achilles injury.

Then, in May this year, Bellew convincingly defeated Haye with a knockout blow in the fifth round to end the argument once and for all over who was the best fighter between the two.

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