The duo enjoyed a succession of brutal bouts at the 02, with Bellew emerging victorious on both occasions
Tony Bellew insists he has nothing but ‘respect and admiration’ for former foe David Haye.
The two-weight world champion announced his retirement on Tuesday after a distinguished 16-year career.
The 37-year-old enjoyed tremendous amounts of success in the first half of his career – unifying the cruiserweight division before winning the WBA World heavyweight world title in 2009.
However, back-to-back defeats to Tony Bellew highlighted just how greatly injuries have taken their toll on the Londoners career.
The Bomber stopped Haye in their first fight back in March 2017, before a more emphatic fifth-round stoppage last month.
But, despite the animosities between the pair, Bellew has paid tribute to the Londoner on his retirement.
“Nothing but respect and admiration for you.,” he wrote on Twitter.
“You’ve had a career that any fighter would be immensely proud of.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fight yourself the first time around! It changed mine & my families life forever so I’ll always be indebted to you.”
After suffering a second brutal knockout to his British foe, speculation Haye would call it a day was rife.
Persistent injuries took their toll on the powerful puncher on Bermondsey who had attempted to make a comeback in 2016.
After initially retiring in 2009, victories over Derek Chisora, Mark De Mori and Andre Gjergjaj followed.
However, forceful defeats to Bellew have seen Haye decide to pack it all in.
Check out Haye’s message to boxing fans around the world.