Haye targets swift return with Bellew rematch top of his wish list

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David Haye has set his sights on a return to boxing in late 2017 and hopes Tony Bellew is still around to give him a shot at a rematch of Saturday's bout.

The former heavyweight champion was expected to dispatch Bellew quickly at London's O2 Arena but he was not able to beat the Liverpudlian.

An Achilles injury in the sixth hampered Haye's movement and Bellew eventually secured an 11th-round stoppage to claim a surprising victory.

Haye underwent surgery to reattach his Achilles on Monday and hopes to be back in the ring in nine months.

"Other athletes have come back in six to nine months after the same injury, and I am in very good condition," Haye told Sky Sports News.

"I proved a lot of things to myself [in the fight]. Everyone worried about my shoulder but it held strong and that is because I have got a good training staff around me."

Asked whether he would fight again, Haye commented: "No doubt about it, I have never been more sure about it, I've proved I can take it. 

"Nothing else is hurting at all, no aches and pains other than my Achilles."

While much of the talk was of Haye's future in the sport, Bellew has hinted he could hang up his gloves to save his family from any more fights.

"When you go through such a tough fight the last thing you want to think about is another fight," Haye said when asked about Bellew's retirement talk.

"If he wants to retire I completely respect that.

"But after sharing the ring with Tony Bellew, I've got a feeling he's a real fighting man.

"If Tony Bellew does retire - and I truly hope he doesn't - I will carry on my path to become number one in the world. I have come back from worse injuries, so fingers crossed I'll do it again."