Tony Bellew Profile
|Born||Nov 30, 1982|
|Division||Cruiserweight Limit: 200 Pounds|
|Professional Record||30-3-1 (20)|
Known for his heart and courage inside the ring, "The Bomber" cemented his legacy as one of Britain's most loved fighters when he became world champion at his beloved Goodison Park.
Tony Bellew is a former WBC cruiserweight world champion who competed in the sport from 2007 to 2018. He was world champion in 2017 and challenged for the undisputed championship in his final fight.
After boxing under the radar in the early part of his career, he would become a household name under the guidance of Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn.
With two unsuccessful world title challenges at light heavyweight to Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson, few would have predicted Bellew's success which would follow with two victories over British legend David Haye, a world title defence and a brave effort against Oleksandr Usyk in a pay-per-view blockbuster.
Born in the notorious Toxteth area of Liverpool, Bellew learned his craft at the Rotunda ABC gym and remains a diehard Everton fan. He fulfilled a lifelong dream by boxing (and winning a world title) at Goodison Park and is now a boxing analyst for Sky Sports.
Outside of the sport, Bellew played 'Pretty' Ricky Conlan in Creed - the seventh film in the Rocky franchise and featured in the second series of UK show Celebrity SAS - hosted by Ant Middleton in 2020.
Bellew enjoyed a close relationship with promoter Hearn, who described him as "one of the best men you will ever meet" after he was stopped by Usyk in his final fight.
Hearn was visibly emotional after the fight as he consoled a heartbroken Bellew in the ring. The pair have since gone on to host several Matchroom shows on YouTube, the most recent being Talk the Talk to coincide with Fight Camp.
The greatest hits: Haye, Makabu and Usyk
Bellew's first world title attempt came in October 2011 when Cleverly beat him to retain his WBO light heavyweight title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
It was a largely forgettable fight and a tough contest to score although it was the Welshman who earned victory with two judges scoring it in favour of Cleverly while the other scored it a draw. Bellew would avenge the defeat three years later via split-decision.
The Evertonian's next world title challenge came at 175-pounds but he was no match for heavy-hitting Stevenson. After an unsavoury build up to the fight, Bellew settled well in Stevenson's native and had some success early on.
However, the Haitian-born Stevenson simply had too much power for the Dave Coldwell-fighter, who was dropped by a stinging left to the jaw in Quebec City. After coming under a barrage of lusty blows in the same round, the referee halted proceedings in the sixth.
Following defeat, some feared the amiable Scouser would end up a 'nearly man' of British boxing. However, those fears were blown clean out of the water on an astonishing evening at Goodison Park in 2016.
On this night, Bellew met WBC cruiserweight boss Ilunga Makabu and in front of a frenzied local crowd overcame a first-round knockdown to deliver a thunderous stoppage in round three to finally fulfil a dream of becoming world champion.
Haye and Bellew met for the first time in March 2017 and going in Haye was a huge favourite with the bookmakers. Bellew, who started his career at light heavyweight, was not expected to last more than a few rounds against the dynamite-fisted Londoner.
No titles were at stake but interest in the bout was significant after the pair had traded barbs on social media in the months leading up to the fight.
Haye was returning to the sport once again after overcoming multiple injuries and had won two easy bouts beforehand with new trainer Shane McGuigan.
The contest was wildly exciting as Bellew ripped up the script and stopped the "Hayemaker" in the penultimate round.
Haye's right achilles tendon appeared to give up on him during an exchange in round six and he spent the rest of the fight limping with tape around the ankle whilst trying to land a significant punch on Bellew.
It would not be enough though as McGuigan threw the white towel in the eleventh round in front of a full house at London's O2 Arena. An emotional Bellew said afterwards, "I've secured my kids' future. That's all I care about."
Their return fight in 2018 had been billed as 'Repeat or Revenge' but it soon became apparent that Haye's timing had gone and that he was now a mere shadow of his former self.
It was another exciting fight with both men trading from the start but Bellew bossed it after the opening round, dropping Haye three times before referee Howard Foster jumped in with a merciful stoppage in the fifth.
Bellew's final fight came against former undisputed cruiserweight boss Usyk - a southpaw with a thousand-yard stare who was simply dripping in ability.
As usual Bellew talked a good fight in the lead up and promised that he would leave it all on the line in what was his final pro outing.
Bellew started well against Usyk, but the Ukrainian with the exquisite skill set boxed like a chess player, and was merely biding his time before stepping things up after halfway.
When the end came in round eight, it was swift. Usyk landed a right jab followed by a ferocious looping left hook that sent Bellew straight to the canvas.
The referee began his count, but it was soon apparent that the "Bomber" was not getting up and that the final act of a memorable career had been played out.
Tony Bellew's net worth
Bellew revealed when during the early days of his professional career he got paid £100 to spar Haye. In 2017, he agreed a life changing purse of £2.8million to take on Haye in the first encounter which also included a portion of the pay-per-view revenue.
Bellew received a similar guarantee for the rematch in 2018 and got a larger slice of the pay-per-view money pot.
Their rematch generated over 800k buys with a similar number delivered in the final fight of Bellew's career against Usyk. It is believed the Scouser made around £4million to face the Ukrainian.
According to the Independent, Bellew's net worth was estimated at around £15million after agreeing to fight Usyk.
Bellew the family man
Staunch family man Bellew is married to childhood sweetheart Rachael Roberts, who he has known since the age of nine.
The couple have three children together - Corey, Cobey and Carter - and tied the knot in the summer of 2018 at Peckforton Castle near Chester.
He is on record as saying she threatened him with divorce if he did not retire after the Usyk fight.
The Bellew's were rocked in the lead up to the Haye rematch after the death of his brother-in-law.
Ashley Roberts - brother of Bellew's wife Rachel - died unexpectedly on a family holiday to Mexico at the age of just 32.
After repeating victory over Haye an emotional Bellew paid tribute to Ashley whilst still in the ring.
"I just want to say I lost my brother-in-law in August and I swear to God he was watching over me and he was there with me tonight for every punch. Ashley, that was for you. I miss him so much," a tearful Bellew said.
Bellew initially harboured dreams of playing for his beloved Everton and did not begin boxing seriously until the age of 15.
Compared to most fighters who go on to be world champions Tony did not have a long amateur career (less than 50 bouts) but did brilliantly at national level, winning the ABA title at heavyweight three times between 2004 to 2006.
This was the same title Frank Bruno won in 1980, and a certain Tyson Fury would go on to win in 2008.
Like Bruno and Fury, Bellew did not hang around waiting for an Olympic call up and made his move into the pro ranks in 2007.
Throughout his time in a vest and head guard he boxed for Rotunda ABC in Liverpool.
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