David Haye makes surprise admission ahead of Tony Bellew fight

Ahead of his heavyweight grudge match with WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew in London this weekend, former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has admitted that the Liverpudlian has got under his skin.

After successfully defending his WBC cruiserweight crown against BJ Flores last October, Bellew called out the 36-year-old with a verbal assault in which he referred to Haye as “Sideshow Bob” and pointed at the fighter repeatedly screaming “he’s next”.

Tensions between the pair have escalated since, with the first press conference between the duo resulting in Haye landing a left hook on Bellew during a face-to-face.

This incident was followed by both fighters taking back and forth shots at each other through the media and Haye has confessed that Bellew has successfully wound him up.

“He’s got under my skin, he’s got his wish, he’s wound me up. He’s said all the things that he needed to do to get my back up. I have trained hard, I have enjoyed my training.” He told Sky Sports.

“I can’t wait until March 4, when I am allowed to punch him legally because I have done it before, I didn’t mean to do it, but tensions were high and I ended up punching him in the press conference. Things happen.”

During yesterday’s final press conference between the pair, in which both men were kept apart by security, Haye seemed noticeably angry, even snapping at Bellew’s hometown Liverpool crowd on several occasions as they jeered the former heavyweight champion and cheered for his opponent. 

However, Haye is adamant he will avoid another physical altercation with Bellew before this Saturday’s fight.

“I am going to make sure there’s a big space between us in the build-up to it, but once the bell rings I am allowed to do whatever the hell I want with my fists and I am going to do as much damage as possible.”

Haye added that although Bellew had the better form going into the fight, and that some “experts” were siding with his opponent, he believes that it will be a “one-sided” contest in his favour.

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