Tony Bellew opens up on retirement from boxing in candid I’m a Celebrity moment

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Tony Bellew has opened up on his retirement from boxing in a candid moment on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.

Bellew, a former cruiserweight champion and current contestant on I’m a Celebrity…, retired from the sport after his knockout loss to Oleksandr Usyk in 2018.

Bellew, 41, was stopped by Usyk in the eighth round while challenging the Ukrainian for the undisputed cruiserweight titles. The Liverpudlian then called time on his 11-year professional career, while Usyk, 36, has since stayed unbeaten and become unified heavyweight champion.

“My body stopped me. It’s so dangerous, it’s brutal,” Bellew said on I’m a Celebrity on Monday (4 December). “Boxing is the most damaging sport in the world. A professional boxer, it’s estimated that he will get hit in the head 50,000 times a year… [I thought], ‘That’s going to catch up with me at some point.’

“I can accept that, I knew it when I got into it: ‘I know what I’m signing up for.’ If tomorrow I go into a coma because of the punches I’ve took, that’s on me. That’s no one else. I’m not suing no one, it ain’t their fault.

“I used to say to my wife, ‘I’m going to get hurt at some point.’ She would know. You’ve got to accept it.”

Bellew’s loss to Usyk was his second pro defeat, in a career that included back-to-back wins over former world champion David Haye.

Usyk is set to fight Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia in February, with the Ukrainian’s unified titles and the Briton’s WBC belt on the line. The winner will be crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion in 24 years.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues Tuesday at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

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