Britain's Tony Bellew retained his World Boxing Council cruiserweight title with a third-round stoppage of BJ Flores at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
London (AFP) - Britain's Tony Bellew retained his World Boxing Council cruiserweight title with a third-round stoppage of BJ Flores on Saturday and then promptly charged out of the ring at Liverpool's Echo Arena to confront David Haye.
Liverpool boxer Bellew floored Flores three times in the second round before seeing off his American challenger in the next.
After the fight was stopped, an emotional Bellew had to be restrained by security staff from confronting British rival Haye, a friend of Flores's, who was watching at ringside.
"I'm ruthless when I get going. BJ Flores is an old-school, respected fighter and he's trying to fulfil a childhood dream," Bellew told Sky Sports.
"I've pummelled him. I could have been clinical. I'm not called the 'Bomber' for nothing."
Bellew then turned his attention to one-time sparring partner Haye, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion.
Haye, competing as a heavyweight, returned to the ring aged of 35 in January after three-and-a-half years with a first round knockout win over Mark de Mori.
But Bellew made it clear on Saturday that he thought Haye's return was nothing more than a money-grabbing publicity stunt
"You see him? He's been conning the British public since his pathetic comeback started," Bellew said of Haye.
"The last two guys you fought are working on nightclub doors, or they're putting the bins out."
He added: "You see you? You're gonna get smashed too.
"With ten ounce gloves on, I'll put you and your pathetic haircut to sleep.
"Brother, I'm the biggest payday you've got right now."
- 'With one hand' -
Haye accepted Bellew had done a fine job of work in seeing off Flores but insisted he would have no trouble defeating him if they met as heavyweights.
"His performance was first-class. He beat BJ Flores, a good friend of mine," said Haye.
"Bellew has dynamite in his fists but would that work on me? I don't think so.
"He was taking big shots in the process, his defence was leaky. Against me, that'd take one shot.
"I am a heavyweight for eight or nine years. If he wants to come up, it's an easy night's work. I'll probably knock him out with a jab.
"I could win the fight with one hand, just my left hand, I wouldn't even need my right hand."
Flores traded punches with Bellew, a fan of Liverpool's Everton football team who won the world title with a knockout of Ilunga Makabu at the club's Goodison Park ground in May.
But the 33-year-old Bellew, in his first title defence, finished the opening round the stronger.
He dropped Flores in the second round, although the American complained of a low blow, and then capitalised on his opponent's loss of concentration to floor him once more.
Just before the bell, Flores was down again but he beat the count.
Nevertheless, the finish was in sight and a flurry of punches from Bellew in the third round ended with a left hook that knocked Flores to the canvas before the referee stopped the contest.