Tony Bellew has given his own words of respect to David Haye after his British rival confirmed retirement following their heavyweight rematch.

The Merseysider inflicted a fifth-round stoppage loss on Haye last month, prompting the 37-year-old to announce the end of his 32-fight career.

Heated words from Haye in the build-up to both fights have been set aside by Bellew, who paid tribute to the 37-year-old, a world champion at cruiserweight and heavyweight.

“I wish him well and would like to thank him for the opportunity in the first fight,” said Bellew, who halted Haye in the 11th round in March 2017.

Tony Bellew [left] and David Haye faces off
Tony Bellew [left] and David Haye faces off
“He has had a fabulous career and will go down as one of the all-time British greats.”

Haye had revealed his admiration for Bellew as he confirmed his intention to leave the sport in a lengthy statement on his official website.

“Despite the pre-fight hype, I can assure you I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Tony,” said Haye.

“Whenever I traded punches with him, and whenever I was in his presence, I felt the inner warrior.

“I saw a man who would take the battle as far as necessary to get victory; a man who, like myself, would rather die than give up or quit; a man I’d want on my side of the battlefield if going to war.”

Source: Skysports