Tony Bellew to defend WBC cruiserweight title after domestic clash with David Haye

Tony Bellew, Eddie Hearn
Image: Tony Bellew attended the recent WBC convention with promoter Eddie Hearn

Tony Bellew has admitted his relief after learning he will keep the WBC cruiserweight title, despite accepting a big domestic fight with David Haye.

The WBC champion has been given a "special exemption" until August and will retain the coveted green belt while he steps up to heavyweight to take on Haye on March 4, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Bellew and promoter Eddie Hearn attended the governing body's convention in Miami and the fighter revealed he was worried about losing his title out of the ring.

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Tony Bellew has sent David Haye a Christmas message ahead of their fight on March 4th

"I have been given the special exemption which I was very happy to hear," Bellew told Sky Sports.

"I was at the WBC convention as their champion and I thought there was a chance that I was going to get stripped, but they gave me this special order.

"I was flattered and honoured because they gave me a specially requested voluntary (BJ Flores) when I had a mandatory shot straight away."

I was at the WBC convention as their champion and I thought there was a chance that I was going to get stripped but they gave me this special order.
Tony Bellew

Bellew was crowned WBC world champion after knocking out Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park in May and successfully defended the title with a stoppage win over BJ Flores in October.

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Image: Mairis Briedis could be Tony Bellew's mandatory challenger at cruiserweight

Mairis Breidis was expected to be named as Bellew's No 1 challenger, but the WBC have ordered a final eliminator between the Latvian and Marco Huck, which is expected to take place in April.

"I'm not bothered who wins," said Bellew, who is due to defend his belt in the summer. "I will enter the ring as champion and leave as champion."

You can watch Haye v Bellew, from The O2, London, live on Sky Sports Box Office on March 4.

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