He might be deep in an Australian jungle but Tony Bellew is still happy to talk boxing.
Bellew has remained a prominent figure n the sport since hanging up his gloves after an unsuccessful challenge for all four cruiserweight belts against Oleksandr Usyk in 2018. That final fight came after a pair of high-profile box office wins over British rival David Haye.
Since retirement, Bellew has worked regularly as a pundit for DAZN as well as appearing on celebrity TV shows such as SAS: Who Dares Wins and, currently, ITV’s I’m A Celebrity.
He was asked in a recent episode by one of his campmates about the favourite fight of his career. Unsurprisingly he picked his WBC world title-winning night with Ilunga Makabu at the stadium of his beloved football club, Everton FC.
“My favourite ever fight? Goodison Park when I won my world title. I achieved my lifelong dream that night. All my dreams came true. That was my main goal and focus in life, to win a title at Goodison Park.”
It was a thriller from the off, with the Brit down in the first but fighting back to knock Makabu – who at that point had just one loss on his record – down and stop the action in the third.
He then explained the conversation he had with his partner afterwards when she asked if he was retiring after that night.
“I said we’re so far away from financial security it’s unbelievable. We were basically skint. I wasn’t far away. I had a heavy mortgage and yeah, I’d won British, Commonwealth and European titles. I was living fight to fight.”
Bellew would have one successful defence of his belt against BJ Flores before entering the Haye bouts. He admitted the first fight was worth ‘four times’ the amount of money he had won in the whole of his career up to that point, and it kept going up.
“The next time I fought him I doubled it again, and then I fought Usyk again and nearly doubled it again.”