Tony Bellew and David Haye have agreed terms for a rematch at London’s O2 Arena on Sunday Dec. 17.
The rematch will be a big event for British boxing and perhaps the biggest outside of any in the UK not featuring world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Bellew (28-2-1, 19 KOs) won their March 4 clash at the same indoor venue by 11th round stoppage after Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) ruptured his right Achilles in the sixth round and was left with reduced mobility — and an easier target — for the rest of the fight.
Defeat for either former world champion could mark the end of their career. Bellew has vowed to ensure it will be the Hayemaker’s career that ends and also hopes to dedicate a victory to his late brother-in-law Ashley Roberts, who died recently.
“I will have the exact same attitude I had going into the first fight — win at all costs,” said Bellew.
“I will be victorious on December 17 and I will end David Haye’s career. Another loss to me closes the curtain on the Hayemaker.
“This isn’t personal anymore, it’s strictly business. This is just another fight. My world has been put into perspective in the last four weeks, it’s been the toughest four weeks of my family’s lives and I will dedicate my victory on December 17 to my late brother-in-law.
“He knows how the first fight went, after five rounds I had him 3-2 up, my plan was never to start strong as David is a front-runner. He’s dangerous early but he tires quickly and he doesn’t get stronger down the stretch.
Haye, from south London, will be 37 come fight night and, after recovering from an operation on his injured Achilles, says he will be in better condition than their first encounter.
“He somehow won the lottery in our first fight, but believe me, he won’t win the lottery twice,” said Haye.
“I’ve been training every day for over six months. I already feel fitter, stronger and more athletic than I did for our first showdown. On December 17, I will relish the opportunity to re-write the ending of the Haye-Bellew story.
Haye is attempting to rescue his career and salvage any hope of an even bigger fight with IBF-WBA world heavyweight champion Joshua next year.
After unifying world titles at cruiserweight, Haye reigned as WBA world heavyweight champion from November 2009 until July 2011, when he was beaten on points by Wladimir Klitschko.
There was then over three years of inactivity due to injuries and following two easy wins in 2016, Haye lost to Liverpool’s Bellew after starting the fight betting favourite.
Bellew, who won the WBC world cruiserweight title on a Sunday in May 2016 before giving up the belt after one defence, will be 35 by the time of the rematch and questioned whether he would continue boxing after beating Haye earlier this year.
“Tony had plenty of options on the table but this was the biggest fight out there and one he wants to end once and for all,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“Tony has continuously been written off through his career and has now become a real fans favourite for always putting it on the line.”