Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed a three-man shortlist for Tony Bellew’s next opponent – but admitted the former WBC World cruiserweight champion may walk away from the sport on the back of his two stoppage victories over David Haye.
Bellew, who achieved a lifelong dream by capturing his maiden World title at Goodison Park in May 2016, made just once defence of his cruiserweight crown before moving up to heavyweight to tackle former two-weight World champion David Haye.
After overcoming his bitter rival in a duo of dramatic dust-ups, Bellew has yet to give any indication on a potential timeframe for his return to the ring, though he has been linked with a host of top names.
Speaking on Sky Sports ‘Toe 2 Toe’ podcast, Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn was candid when asked about future plans for ‘The Bomber’.
“Possible retirement. Possible retirement.” said Hearn.
“I think there’s three fights. Tyson Fury, which isn’t coming anytime soon. Andre Ward, and the other one who wants it is Adonis Stevenson up at cruiserweight.”
“They’re the three options for him.” he finished.
Evertonian Bellew has enjoyed a stellar second phase of his career and is one of the most impressive hot streaks in British boxing, winning his previous ten fights and in unbeaten since November 2013.
On that night, Bellew was stopped in six rounds by Canadian power-puncher Adonis Stevenson in a bout for Stevenson’s WBC World light heavyweight crown.
The loss to Stevenson is one that, according to Hearn, Bellew is keen to avenge.
“He likes the idea of the Stevenson fight because he wants to do a job on him (in a rematch) and get the return win. I think at cruiserweight he’s the favourite.”
Hearn would go on to explain his reasons for potential bouts with former ‘pound-for-pound’ star Andre Ward, as well as a mouth-watering heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury – a bout that has been called for by both men in the media in recent months.
“The Ward fight I love for him because I think Tony’s size can make for the definite, not mismatch of skill, but Ward is a genius. And the Fury fight I love because I think Tony can win that fight.”
Whether Bellew does indeed return to the ring, it is undoubted that the dramatic turnaround since being pounded into submission by Adonis Stevenson in Quebec almost five years ago, to now being arguably the most appealing box office attraction in British boxing outside of Anthony Joshua, is nothing short of remarkable.