Tearful Tony Bellew grieves the death of his brother in law as he beats David Haye by knockout in the fifth round

Haye was floored three times, twice in the third, before being stopped in the fifth

Tony Bellew grieves the death of his brother in law: 'I dedicate this fight to Ash'

Tony Bellew has defeated David Haye for the second time, effectively ending the top level career of the former world heavyweight champion.

The man who achieved his dreams at Goodison Park set out to end his rivalry with a repeat of his first performance, and that he did – in absolutely devastating fashion. After two knockdowns earlier in the fight, it was obvious that Haye’s performance level was nowhere near what it has been over the years – despite his words in the lead up to the fight that he would be the dominant performer. Whether he truly believed that or not comes down to bravado. As it always does in the sport of boxing.

At 37, his race finally looks to have been run, but for Bellew, who fought back tears after the fight for his late brother in law, the journey is set to continue as he called out Andre Ward amongst others to a braying crowd at the 02 Arena in London.

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“I just want to say I lost my brother-in-law in August and I swear to God he was watching me and he was there with me tonight for every punch, Ashley that was for you,” Bellew said in the immediate aftermath. ”I miss him so much. I’m broke. All week I’ve been on my own in the hotel and each night I’ve cried, I’m a bit emotional all I can think about is him.

“David Haye is an amazing fighter, he just got caught in a slugfest. He’s a great fighter, he has got crazy power but speed and power always decreases. He is a legend, a credit to the sport and I’m just happy I’ve got the win against the odds.

“It’s been a great journey. Who’s next? I don’t know. I am a walking Super Series. Every fight I’m in is a Super Series. I need that mega star.”

Cool, calm, collected. That’s how Haye walked out, despite his mixed reception.

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The first few rounds showed too, he looked the better man, landed more often and harder. That was, until he finally got hit back significantly.

First out, both men tried to establish their jab and it would be Haye who had the more success, putting his opponent against the ropes and finding the right combinations, with his lighter weight clearly showing in how slick he moved around and dictated the fight early on.

The second round saw Bellew establish himself much better straight out of the corners but it was Haye who put together the better combinations and landed cleaner, with a body shot stinging to the point everyone around the arena could see the anguish on the ‘Bomber’s’ face.

What was evident throughout the entire fight is neither wanted the other to know they were in pain, any wince of it would be brushed off with a shrug of the shoulders to say ‘is that all you’ve got?’ A mark of how much they didn’t want to show any signs of weakness to one another.

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The third was far more tentative from both for a long while until Bellew landed two clean knockdowns, one after the other. The first with a left book followed by a simple jab, for which Haye had no answer – only to be knocked down again and saved by the bell.

Out into the fourth and it was more of the same, Bellew far stronger, sharper with Haye’s age showing. This is not the Haye of old, every punch landed on him hurt, he gassed early on with nothing left in him.

The fifth saw Bellew land the most spectacular of left hooks – the beginning of the end for Haye. He rose but another flurry from Bellew with no answer from the former heavyweight champion of the world saw the fight stopped. Repeat. The term Bellew had coined so often in the build up rang true. And in what style, with the Liverpool-born fighter visibly emotional after the fight at everything he had achieved and been through over the last year, including personal loss.

When asked about his future in the sport and whether this would be the final fight of his career, Haye simply responded “I don’t know.” Whether or not retirement comes next for the former champion, his rivalry with Bellew is over and on this occasion, like the first, he was second best.

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