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Tony Bellew: Haye will go down as one of the all-time British greats

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Tony Bellew has offered respect for his former rival with the announcement of David Haye’s retirement.

David Haye v Tony Bellew Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tony Bellew was David Haye’s rival for the last two fights of Haye’s decorated professional boxing career, but despite the harsh words they traded before bouts, Bellew came away with a respect for Haye and offered these sentiments upon Haye announcing his retirement:

“I wish him well and would like to thank him for the opportunity in the first fight. He has had a fabulous career and will go down as one of the all-time British greats.”

Haye addressed Bellew in his farewell statement on his web site, and the respect is definitely mutual between the two after their fights:

“Despite the pre-fight hype, I can assure you I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Tony. Whenever I traded punches with him, and whenever I was in his presence, I felt the inner warrior. I saw a man who would take the battle as far as necessary to get victory; a man who, like myself, would rather die than give up or quit; a man I’d want on my side of the battlefield if going to war.”

Haye retires as a former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, with a career record of 28-4 (26 KO).