"I thought I was getting him at the right time in our respective careers"
Saturday 29 February 2020 12:15, UK
Tony Bellew challenged Tyson Fury, and promised to KO him "swiftly and viciously", in 2018. Fury was one fight into a comeback after nearly three years out, Bellew had just beaten David Haye twice. Bellew remembers that challenge now...
It was a stunning win by Tyson Fury against Deontay Wilder on Saturday night, and although I always believed that Tyson would get the job done late on or by points, I had no idea that the victory would be so emphatic and that he'd dominate the fight from the outset the way he did.
The fight was effectively over as a contest from the third round as Wilder just didn't look right after that and Tyson made sure he punished him before coming away with the heavyweight title.
"If I’m his next fight, it doesn’t go six rounds. I would knock him out, swift and quick. He said I’m too small? I’m a serious threat to Tyson. He saw what I did to David Haye and thought ‘I need to take his guy seriously’. Nobody has done to David Haye what I did to him. If I fight Tyson Fury I will deal with him swiftly and viciously."
There was a time when Fury was a fighter on my radar and you can go back to a number of interviews from a few years where I made it clear I wanted to fight him.
I was in the best form of my career and after winning a world title at cruiserweight, I'd made the move to heavyweight to take on David Haye. I believed I had a lot of advantages over some other heavyweights and that I could compete with some of them and after taking some big shots off Haye, I thought I belonged there.
The reason the Tyson fight appealed more than most was because I thought I was getting him at the right time in our respective careers.
I was on a brilliant run where I felt great and Tyson was coming back from a long three-year lay-off where it wasn't known just how good he could be again. I believed he was going to be rusty, out of shape, and perhaps not have the same hunger that he had when going to Germany to defeat Wladimir Klitschko.
Based on what I saw Saturday night, if that version of Tyson turned up then I wouldn't have stood a single chance against him.
Overall, I couldn't be happier for Tyson Fury.
This was a man who went from the top to the bottom in rapid time and to go through what he has and then emerge on the other side as world champion is just a really great story.
There was never any doubt about Tyson's ability or skill, but when he was out for so long you did have to wonder whether the desire was there to climb that ladder all the way to the top again.
Fury did that against one of the biggest punchers the heavyweight division has ever seen and everything he has now is fully deserved. There's another big fight waiting for him in Anthony Joshua so let's hope we see that one sooner rather than later.