WBC world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew provided a frank insight into the sport of boxing, describing it as "legalised killing".
Bellew did not mince his words following the tragic death of 25-year-old Scottish boxer Mike Towell, who passed away due to severe brain trauma suffered in a fight against Dale Evans last month.
And as Bellew prepares to defend his crown for the first time against BJ Flores in Liverpool on Saturday, the 33-year-old Brit said boxers are constantly putting their lives on the line when they step into the ring.
"People need to understand that what has happened to Mike Towell is heartbreaking, it truly is," Bellew told the Telegraph.
"I hope people understand what us boxers put on the line every single time we step through those ropes. This isn't an easy sport. Every time we step through the ropes, lives are at stake.
"I have no issues about that. People can dress it up however they want to, but boxing is life and death. I don't agree with the trainer Joe Gallagher on everything but I agree with him when he says boxing is legalised killing."
Bellew continued: "It's never a case of getting up for something. Every single time I step into a ring the same thing is on the line. Take away belts, take away money, take away glamour and fame. Ultimately I'm fighting for one thing and that's my life.
"You'll never see me go into a fight and struggle to get up for it. I understand first and foremost what's at stake. In the build-up to a fight I am scared, and I do worry about myself. But once I step into that arena, that worry has gone. A switch gets flicked and I want to do damage. All I care about is doing damage as fast as possible."