David Haye v Tony Bellew: British Boxing Board warn fighters over behaviour
|David Haye v Tony Bellew|
|Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: 4 March Time: 22:00 GMT approx|
|Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and live text updates on the BBC Sport website.|
David Haye and Tony Bellew have been warned by British boxing chiefs after "extremely disappointing comments" before Saturday's heavyweight bout.
The British Boxing Board of Control acted after a news conference on Monday where Haye insulted fans and gave graphic descriptions of hurting Bellew.
BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith cited "tragedies" in the sport and said he has asked both men to be "sensible".
The board will meet to discuss the heated build-up to the fight next week.
The meeting was already scheduled and has not been called as a direct result of comments made by either fighter.
Speaking to BBC Sport on Wednesday, in the build-up to the bout at London's O2 Arena, Haye said he understood why his comments had upset people.
"I'm not intending to do damage to him, but it's a dangerous sport and my job is to punch him as hard as I can in his head and body for 36 minutes," he said.
"It's hard to expect me to do that and be all lovey-dovey at the same time."
Bellew, though, said Haye's comments earlier in the week went beyond the usual trash talk.
"His comments are disrespectful, degrading and drag the sport through the mud. There will be no handshakes."
What did Haye say on Monday?
Warning: Some people may find the language in this section upsetting
Both Haye, 36, and Liverpudlian Bellew, 34, traded expletives and insults at the news conference in the latter's home city.
In front of a large crowd, Haye got visibly frustrated as his words were often drowned out by noise and he insulted fans in attendance before later repeating the remark on social media.
But the former WBA heavyweight champion's graphic comments have proved most controversial as he stated Bellew is "risking his life" when he campaigns at 200lbs and over for the first time as a professional.
Haye said he had trained to "punch through" the head of the WBC cruiserweight champion, adding he wanted to do "real damage" and that he hoped Bellew is "physically able" to enjoy the money he receives for the contest.
"Some people don't like it being real," added Haye. "[Fellow heavyweight] Anthony Joshua reads off a script and is very PC with what he says.
"When I throw a body shot I'm trying to break your ribs, if I go around the side I'm trying to perforate your ear drum, if I'm punching down the middle I want to rupture an eye socket, if I punch you in the mouth I want to punch your teeth down your throat.
"It's how I've been my whole life. I'm not trying to knock you on the floor, I am trying to punch your head off your shoulders. That's why I'm so effective."
In a promotional media gathering in November, Haye threw a punch at Bellew.
'There are tragedies'
Smith spoke to both fighters before Monday's event and ahead of another news conference on Thursday and Friday's weigh-in, he made contact again to outline the BBBofC's "position and disappointment".
He added: "We are all aware this is a tough sport and there are tragedies. We don't need people acting in this manner."
In December, the board stripped a fight between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora of British title status and fined Chisora for throwing a table at a news conference.
Haye, who unified the cruiserweight division in 2008 before moving up to heavyweight, holds a record of 28 wins from 30 fights, 26 by the way of knockout.
But he has fought just twice since returning after over three years out of the sport, picking up two routine victories before being called out by Bellew - who has 28 wins and a draw from 31 contests.