Tony Bellew isn’t afraid of anyone or anything.
It’s something loaded learns quickly when speaking to the heavyweight hero, who is busy preparing for his next big fight. Who Bellew plans on facing is so far unclear; David Haye wants a rematch while Bellew would no doubt relish the opportunity to go up against Deontay Wilder or Joseph Parker.
“The Bomber” has been busy dealing with some pretty serious matters away from the ring recently though and while he’s more desperate than ever to get back to fighting, he’s also not averse to trying out something a little bit different after witnessing Conor McGregor’s clash with Floyd Mayweather.
loaded: What have you been up to since your win over David Haye?
Bellew: The first two months after the fight was about my hand healing, which took time [Bellew broke his hand fighting Haye]. Nothing much else has really changed since then. I’ve carried on training at heavyweight.
loaded: So who are you fighting next?
Bellew: I don’t know. But I don’t mind if it’s in a boxing ring or an octagon. I met with some people out in Las Vegas and they asked me if I was serious about getting in a cage and fighting. My response was simple: ‘If you’re paying, I’m playing.’
I would get in an Octagon in a heartbeat, especially if it was for the UFC title. The guys in Vegas thought I was joking and nuts. I am 100%, deadly serious. I would happily get into a cage. No two ways about it. As long as the money is right.
loaded: Who would you like to fight in UFC?
Bellew: I would love to fight Michael Bisping. If Bisping got in a boxing ring with me, he would have absolutely no chance. This is not Mayweather vs McGregor – I would not carry Bisping for 10 rounds. I would starch him in about 40 seconds and it would only last about 40 seconds because I would be laughing at him for the first 30.
He would have no chance in a boxing ring, so to make it entertaining I would happily go in a cage, not a problem. The people at IMG were amazed when I said I wanted to do it. They obviously don’t know me. But if they can match what I get in the boxing ring and make it a fight for the UFC title, I will do it.
loaded: Is there going to be a rematch with David Haye?
Bellew: I’m never going to change who I am and David Haye is always going to be an arsehole. I don’t deal with David Haye because he’s a self-obsessed prick. I can’t deal with him personally but I have very good advisors though that I trust.
It’s a tough time for me at the minute. I just lost my brother who was only 32. My family is heartbroken and we’re all in a lot of pain at the moment. I’m not in the right frame of mind to be negotiating a fight. If someone were to sit down at a table with me right now and start trying to negotiate, I would probably lean over and smack them in the face.
“I just want to fight. Getting paid to do it is a bonus”
All I’ve got inside me right now is anger. I’ve lost my little brother. I’m going through a lot of shit at the minute. My advisors will do right by me. I have a lot of trust in them. If they say David Haye is the best option, I will do it. I don’t care. My life has been put into perspective over the last few weeks and I just don’t care anymore. I just want to fight. I would fight the world if I could. I don’t care where it is or how it happens, I just want to fight. Getting paid to do it is a bonus.
loaded: How do you feel about David Haye after that first fight? Things got pretty nasty…
Bellew: He told me he was going to end it in two rounds and that my children would be visiting me in hospital. He said if all the thick scousers out there should bet their money on Tony Bellew to win. Well, do you know what, David? They did and those thick scousers made a fortune.
He’s so ignorant and such a prick. I embraced him after the fight but that was only because he had just secured my children’s futures. My kids will live comfortable lives because of the work the two of us put in promoting that fight and it paid off. So I appreciate him for that.
Does that change what I think of him? No. He’s still a gobshite and a self-obsessed arsehole. He’s an absolute clown. I hear some of the ludicrous things he says about how him fighting Anthony Joshua would be the biggest fight ever. I just don’t know how he does it.
loaded: Is there any part of you that would relish getting in the ring with Haye again?
Bellew: I’d go in the ring with him again. I’d punch his face everywhere again. I’ll still be a massive underdog though. All the David Haye fans said I would be done in two rounds but he couldn’t even touch me. We got into an exchange in the first round and the only one who got hit was him. I punched him on that stupid head of his and those silly girl’s braids. He shook like a girl too. He was physically shocked at my power.
He might have been ahead in those early rounds, but if you look at the predictions I made, you’ll see I said I would come good in the later rounds and I did. I said his body would break down on him after four rounds and he was, once again. He never comes strong late on. He’s a front-runner – he’s great when it’s going his way. But when it’s not and it goes passed four rounds he doesn’t like it.
If that’s next and they want to make up the paper, I would happily do it. But If my advisors think it’s right to get into the Octagon, I will. Either way, I’m putting gloves on in December, though if I’m honest I would do it tomorrow. I’ve got a lot of aggression in me. I just want to get it out.
loaded: What did you make of the Mayweather v McGregor fight?
Bellew: I thought it was a great event and a wonderful spectacle but that’s all it was. Mayweather carried McGregor. Mayweather could see there was zero threat. There was nothing McGregor could do to hurt him. MMA and boxing are two completely different sports. It’s like comparing football to rugby just because they both use a ball. They are not alike.
I’m not saying it was fix, just that McGregor probably believed he was going to knock Mayweather out because everyone he hits with that left hand of his goes down. What he’s learned is that boxing is an art. Hitting a guy with boxing gloves just isn’t the same as UFC.
It was disrespectful that a man thought he could come in and, on his first fight, challenge the greatest fighter of all time. It’s like Jonny Wilkinson trying to have a free kick competition with David Beckham. The public bought it because Conor McGregor is a master salesman. He sold people the belief he could knock down Mayweather but I didn’t believe it. But good on them both – they both made $100m each on that
loaded: Creed 2 is definitely happening now – any chance of you making an appearance?
Bellew: It was fantastic to do the first movie but we’ll just have to see what the future holds. I never thought it would be possible, that I would one day be part of a movie with Rocky Balboa. I don’t want to say one way or the other at this stage though.
loaded: Thanks for speaking to us Tony and best of luck with the fight.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.