Chisora, Whyte, Froch, Brook, Khan, Nelson and more on Bellew’s career
By Tim Hobbs at Manchester Arena
Last Updated: 11/11/18 8:34am
Tony Bellew’s career came to an end at the hands of undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk, so we caught up with some of British boxing’s biggest names at the Manchester Arena as they paid tribute to the “fat Scouser”, in and out of the ring…
Brave Bellew knocked out by Usyk
Tony Bellew’s final fight ended in a brutal eighth-round knockout by Oleksandr Usyk
I’ve known him for a long time, from the amateurs to the professionals. I’ll always remember the fight with David Haye and me sparring him for that. He’ll always bring a smile to my face.
“His heart will stand out for me. He was a warrior and he fought hard and kept coming back even after those two losses. He’s done so well and he should be proud of what he’s achieved and the way he achieved it.”
“I really hope this is the end for him. I’ve known Tony for a long time, him and the Smith brothers used to come into my gym a long time ago and even if he’d won, I’d have wanted him to retire. It’s been a great story and he has got nothing left to prove. I think we are definitely going to miss Tony Bellew. He was never in a dull fight and is a great kid.”
“He would fight anyone and when he did he would turn up and give everything to it. He’s had the whole of Liverpool behind him, so will still be around, but he will be missed.”
I can remember us saying to each other when we were with Frank Warren that we were just happy to have our picture on the promotional poster. That was the first thing I remember, but look at what he’s done since then. He’s been in movies, he’s beaten David Haye, he’s been a world champion and then tried to unify. My hat goes off to him.
“It was a sad way to see him finish his career but he can hold his head high, that’s for sure. He is a great champion and it’s been a great career. He’s been a courageous fight and he has been a warrior. You’ve only got to see who he’s been in with; he has just been in with one of the best pound-for-pound fighters and showed a lot of heart. You can only respect Tony Bellew.”
Usyk kept his discipline after falling behind in the first few rounds. Constantly on the front foot and the pressure worked. Absolute credit to Tony on tonight and what he’s done in his career. Commiserations @TonyBellew & congratulations @usykaa. Great fight!
— Carl Frampton MBE (@RealCFrampton) November 10, 2018
“Let’s go right back eight years to his fight with Ovill McKenzie, when he was down three times, he scraped through and look how he changed it around. Then against Adonis Stevenson he flat, dead, at light-heavyweight, found his weight at cruiserweight, won the world title, then moved up to heavyweight beat David Haye twice against all the odds, then came back down to take on one of the best in Usyk. As a person, he is full of charisma, full of entertainment and is exactly what the fight fans want to see. He is a people’s champion and I think, one of Britain’s all-time greats.”
The one thing that will stand out for me is the Ilunga Makabu fight, Goodison Park, world title, just brilliant. Nothing else really is imprinted into the memory bank like that. He’s a great guy, who wears his heart on his sleeve and look at tonight, he went out on his shield.”
“Tony Bellew dared. He never backed down from anyone and to take on Usyk in his last fight, says it all. Usyk is a fighter he admired and how he thought he was something special and that was not for show. He made Usyk think and he has done that in those fights we will all remember.”
Tony is a gentleman. He is well-mannered, a family man and he’s great to be around. It’s exciting when he’s around and he was exciting in the ring, the total package. He proved most people wrong three times – against Haye (twice) and Makabu and will massively missed.