Bellew vs Haye 2: Five possible fights to tempt Tony Bellew to continue
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 07/05/18 10:11am
Tony Bellew wants an "absolutely ridiculous" opportunity to fight again, after beating David Haye for a second time. How likely are these five fights?
The first name on Bellew's lips post-fight, and upon reflection on Sunday morning, was the unbeaten pound-for-pound star from America.
Ward is new to boxing's retirement home, so maybe it is not too late to urge him back out. His sensational career ended with 32 wins and no losses, dominance over two divisions and a pair of standout results as the cherry on top.
Ward, a year younger than Bellew at 34, won an Olympic gold in 2004 then triumphed in the Super Six super-middleweight tournament with wins over Mikkel Kessler and Carl Froch.
He stepped up a division to light-heavyweight (where Bellew tried and failed to become a world champion) and twice bested Sergey Kovalev to unify a second weight class.
He would need to move up in weight if a fight with Bellew was of interest.
Oleksandr Usyk or Murat Gassiev
It would be intriguing to see Bellew, who vacated his WBC cruiserweight title when the David Haye saga began, go back to his rightful division to meet the new ruler.
Usyk and Gassiev, who each hold two of the four major world titles, will meet in the World Boxing Super Series final to crown an undisputed champion. Both have made noises about leaving cruiserweight as the sole champion and moving up, so Bellew might not even have to drop his newfound weight.
WBC and WBO champion Usyk, from Ukraine, is a southpaw with a stunning amateur background including an Olympic gold from London 2012. He beat the much bigger Joe Joyce, who won on Bellew's undercard on Saturday, as an amateur and is now unbeaten in 14 as a pro.
Power-puncher Gassiev, from Russia, the IBF and WBA champion, is only 24-years-old but has built an unbeaten 27-fight record.
However unlikely, Bellew has refused to drop the possibility of facing the former world heavyweight champion.
Fury returns next month from a two-and-a-half year hiatus during which his weight has ballooned, then fallen off. He is unbeaten after ending Wladimir Klitschko's long title reign in 2015 but Bellew has long fancied this fight.
"I do think I can knock Fury out," Bellew said on Sunday. The thought process is that, although Fury is drastically larger than Bellew or Haye, he isn't known for his pure power. Bellew believes he could wriggle inside and hurt the bigger man. Whether he'll ever get the opportunity to prove this remains to be seen.
Adonis Stevenson or Badou Jack
An off-the-wall suggestion, which Bellew has not yet considered himself.
Long-reigning world light-heavyweight champion Stevenson defends his belt against Jack, who has already won a different belt in the same division after earning super-middleweight gold.
Canada's Stevenson, of course, dealt Bellew a stoppage defeat in 2013. Bellew has avenged his only other loss, to Nathan Cleverly, and is still irritated by memories of his horrific weight cut preceding the Stevenson challenge.
Jack, meanwhile, is known to British fans for beating George Groves, drawing with James DeGale then sending Cleverly into retirement. He is promoted by Floyd Mayweather.
Stevenson or Jack would need to move up to cruiserweight for the first time to meet Bellew, making this an outlandish suggestion, but a fun idea.
There has been some back-and-forth already, with Whyte always keen to remind Bellew that he is not a true heavyweight.
Whyte did, to be fair, pledge allegiance to Bellew before the rematch against Haye. But both Bellew and Whyte are aware of their statuses as two of British boxing's big names, and a collision would generate interest.
For the time being, Whyte has other priorities as he pursues a world title shot.