On this day in 2017: A look back at one of British Boxing’s fiercest rivalries

On the 4th March in 2017, British rivals Tony Bellew and David Haye met in the ring for the first time, leading to what would end up being a year long rivalry, culminating in two blockbuster fights, fiery press conferences and electric atmospheres.

The first bout was a spectacle in British Boxing, selling out the 02 Arena in London.

The scouser, Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew was victorious, stopping ‘Haymaker’ Haye in the 11th round.

The fight was captivating, Haye ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in the 6th round, and was subsequently dropped during the round. He was later stopped in the 11th round after Bellew landed a thunderous three-punch combination, forcing his man through the ropes and unable to beat the referees count.

It was an incredible achievement for Bellew, who went into the fight a massive underdog.

Following a build-up for the ages, with two of the most popular fighters at the time, the fight sold 1,515,000 buys, making it one of Sky Sports Box Office’s most successful PPV’s of all time.

At the time of their fight, Bellew had a record of 28-2-1, coming off a third round stoppage of BJ Flores, defending his WBC Cruiserweight world title for the first time.

He instantly called out David Haye and wished to move up to Heavyweight to fight him.

Following a unanimous decision defeat to Heavyweight king Vladimir Klitschko in 2011, the ‘Haymaker’ picked up only three wins in six years, including a stoppage victory over Derek Chisora at Upton Park.

Despite his inactivity, Haye came into the fight a clear favourite, with some betting sites having Bellew an 8/1 underdog.

It was thought that the size and power of David Haye would overcome the heart and determination of Tony Bellew, however that wasn’t the case at all.

The landscape of the fight left a lot of questions, especially to do with Haye’s injury and vulnerability. Hence why the rematch was made a year later, and Bellew proved everyone wrong again with an outstanding performance and knockout victory.