Five years on from retirement, Tony Bellew is still holding his own in the boxing gym.
The former world cruiserweight champion hung up the gloves following 34 fights with 30 wins, 20 coming by way of knockout – the highlights including that world title win against Ilunga Makabu and a two-win domestic rivalry with David Haye.
Bellew stepped away from the sport after admirably stepping up to challenge Oleksandr Usyk in the Ukrainian’s final cruiserweight bout before moving up to heavyweight and winning Anthony Joshua’s unified titles. He was knocked out, quite brutally, in the eight.
Now, five years later, his former promoter, Matchroom, has posted some powerful pad work.
Since hanging up the gloves, he’s enjoyed life as a pundit for Sky Sports and, currently, DAZN, as well as having a stint on Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins.
The Liverpool man also guides prospects in the pro game and takes a keen interest in fighters from his home town. He’s done a bit of acting, too – appearing in the first Creed film opposite Michael B Jordan, and again in the upcoming third flick, albeit with a smaller role.
Could the pad work signal a ring return? Despite the spate of exhibitions and fighters looking to come out of retirement, it’s unlikely Bellew is doing anything more than keeping fit.
Having said that, he did say last year that there are a couple of conditions that would see him back into the ring – a chance to shut up the likes of Jake Paul, and a whole load of money.
““These YouTubers and crossover boxers are making a lot of noise at the moment, and you have seen earlier this year that Jake Paul had a few things to say.
If the right amount of money was put in front of me to shut one of these up then I’d be happy to oblige, but I don’t think you’ll see that. These people aren’t serious about fighting me and I don’t think there’s a promoter who would put up the money I want.”
Perhaps he’s staying sharp in case the opportunity comes around.