O2 Arena, London – In their long-awaited rematch, Tony Bellew (30-2, 20 KOs) likely retired former two division world champion David Haye (28-4, 26 KOs), who went down three times before he was stopped in the fifth round.
In the first meeting, which took place at the same venue in March 2017, Bellew moved up from the cruiserweight division to pull off a major upset with a stoppage win in eleven rounds. Haye was doing well in the contest, until he suffered a severe ruptured Achilles in the contest and became a one-legged fighter. Once the injury was sustained, Bellew took over the entire fight and eventually forced Haye’s then trainer, Shane McGuigan, to throw in the towel.
The rematch was initially scheduled for last December, but Haye suffered a biceps injury in training and withdrew. To prepare for the rematch, he parted ways with McGuigan and hired veteran Cuban trainer Ismael Salas.
In the first round, Haye was being very active with the jab and moving forward. Bellew was doing a jab of his own, but not as good. Between the two of them, Haye landed the better shots.
Bellew was getting more active with his punches at the start of the second round. Haye began to let his own hands go and was starting to connect with solid shots, which were troubling Bellew.
Bellew mostly targeting the body of Haye, who was shooting the jab and looking for an opening to the head. They were trading big shots during the round and Bellew droppped Haye down. When the round restarted, Bellew landed another hard combination that sent Haye down for a second time at the bell.
At the start of the fourth, Bellew went right after Haye as they were swinging away with punches. Bellew were throwing the better shots and connected on Haye, who was backing away and appeared to be in survival mode. Haye did not appear to be 100% and the entire fight had shifted in Bellew’s direction.
Haye went back to the front foot at the start of the fifth and was pushing Bellew back with a jab. And then a big left hook by Bellew sent Haye down for a the third time. Haye went down face-first and struggled to get up. Bellew started battering him against the ropes and the referee jumped in to wave off the fight.