Tony Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn is close to naming his next opponent for late 2017. It won’t be unified light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward that the 34-year-old Bellew will be facing, as Hearn is going in another direction for his next fight. Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) last fought on March 4 in beating heavyweight David Haye by an 11th round knockout in a big upset at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Negotiations for a rematch between Bellew and Haye are said to be underway, as that fight will draw a great deal of interest from fans in the UK. There’s money to be made, a lot of money, in a rematch between Bellew and Haye. However, Haye doesn’t appear to be the opponent that Bellew will be fighting next. It could be someone else.
“Eddie Hearn is closing in on it now,” Bellew said to Sky Sports News. “We got a fair bit closer with Andre Ward and I thought that was going to get announced imminently, to be honest. Eddie came back to me with something else, and said ‘this is what’s going on and this is what’s happening.’ I trust Eddie and I believe in what he does by me. He has led me this far.”
It’s anyone’s guess who the opponent will be for Bellew. If we’re talking about Bellew fighting a cruiserweight, it’ll likely be one of these names:
– Denis Lebedev
– Steve Cunningham
– Firat Arslan
Bellew has mentioned wanting to fight Lebedev in the past, so there’s a chance that he could be the guy that Hearn has got for him. Lebedev would be extremely dangerous for Bellew to fight. Lebedev isn’t flawed like the guys that Bellew has beaten at cruiserweight. The Russian southpaw is still very solid despite his advanced age.
If Bellew is fighting against a heavyweight next, then it’s possible it could be one of these guys:
– Charles Martin
– Dereck Chisora
– Johann Duhaupas
– Alexander Dimitrenko
– Robert Helenius
– Dominic Breazeale
– Manuel Charr
– Mariusz Wach
– Christian Hammer
I find it very hard to believe that Hearn would put Bellew in a risky fight against any of them. With the amount of money that Bellew can get for a rematch with Haye, it would be a big risk to put him in with any of the above heavyweights. That’s not to say that Bellew couldn’t beat all or most of them. I think Bellew would be a sure thing winner against Hammer, Charr, Wach, Dimitrenko, Helenius and Duhaupas. Bellew would have problems trying to beat Breazeale, Martin and Chisora. Those guys have talent, boxing skills and power. Charles Martin didn’t look so good against Joshua, but he’s better than what he looked in that fight. Martin usually fights well, and he’s big. Joshua was too much for Martin. Bellew doesn’t have the size or the punching power that Joshua possesses. He wouldn’t be able to steamroll over a fighter like Martin in the same way.
Bellew, 6’3”, wasn’t supposed to beat Haye last March. Haye was the favorite going into their big clash in London. Things looked good for Haye in the first 5 rounds, but he suffered a ruptured Achilles in the 6th. That changed the fight around, putting Bellew in the driver’s seat. Bellew took advantage of Haye’s injury to wear him down with power shots and stop him in the 11h round after he fell out of the ring while being attacked.
Bellew is interested in challenging WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker if he successfully defends his title against #1 WBO challenger Hughie Fury in September. It’s unclear whether Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn will be able to get him that fight. Parker would make a lot more money by fighting Anthony Joshua. That’s the fight that a lot of boxing fans want to see.
Bellew appears to be in a rush to cash out on his big success in pulling an upset over Haye. Hearn is going to need to be wise in picking Bellew’s next opponent, because he’ll likely lose if he puts him in with someone too good. For example, I wouldn’t favor Bellew to beat Lebedev or Haye. Without an injury slowing either of those two fighters up, I see them beating Bellew and doing it with relative ease.