‘Petrifying’ Tony Bellew on being ‘skint’ with kids as he asserts ‘I know what it’s like!’

Tony Bellew gives verdict on Joshua v Usyk bout

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Tony Bellew, 39, has looked back on his early days as a professional boxer during a candid conversation with Steven Bartlett on The Diary of a CEO podcast. Following a nasty injury and a very generous Christmas, Tony admitted he once found himself “skint” despite the public’s differing assumptions about his financial situation.

Tony recounted: “Five professional fights in my left hand, my knuckle snapped in half.

“The fifth fight of my career, so I’m getting an operation with the best surgeon in the world […] and I didn’t even have enough money to pay for the operation.

“Because I fought in December, I snapped my hand in half – my middle knuckle here – just snapped in half, and then I spent all of the £6,000 that I’d just earned to give the kids the best Christmas they can possibly have.”

The former World champion continued: “On January 11, I’m skint, I haven’t got a single penny in the bank.

“I’ve got a mortgage to pay, I’ve got kids to provide for… But everyone thinks, from the outside, I’m this professional and I’ve got loads of money because I’ve gotten a new car and whatever […].

“I’m still living in my terraced house in Old Swan in Liverpool. But from the outside [people think], ‘Look, he’s on TV. He’s fighting.’”

The Creed star highlighted how when he was in a bad economic situation, having children was “frightening”, but “you figure a way out”.

He added: “And then you have to do extra curricular activities to try and earn some more money and provide food for your kids.

“So, it’s very bad, but I couldn’t… I know what it’s like to be skint.

“I know what it’s like to not have a penny. I’ve felt financial pressure. It’s a frightening, frightening thing and I understand why people do the things that they do.

“No one can tell me nothing about being skint or whatever. Because they’re like, ‘You wouldn’t know what it’s like to be skint.’ Yes, I would. I know what it’s like to be skint with two kids as well.

“It’s petrifying. So, you figure a way out and you get through it.”

Tony competed as a professional boxer from 2007 to 2018, and has since worked as a boxing analyst and commentator.

He has even ventured into acting with his portrayal of boxer Ricky Conlan in the 2015 Rocky film Creed.

In 2020, Tony took part in the Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins, where he followed former Royal Marine Ant Middleton completing a series of military challenges alongside eleven other celebrities.

Tony previously compared the “painful” experience to some of the punches he took  during his prolific career in boxing.

He admitted: “[It was] painful. I have taken my smacks in a boxing ring but that is the only word I can use to describe my recent foray into SAS training.

“What I can say is the whole thing is a torture and you find yourself looking in the mirror day after day, asking questions of yourself that you never thought you would.

“The tasks you’re asked to undertake include running face-first down a cliff face when your body and mind tell you not to and being submerged in the ice cold sea until one of you quits – and if the water doesn’t break you, the heights and deadly drops you have to conquer might do.

“Throw in what the military men label ‘sickeners’ – where you think you’ve conquered a challenge only to be told you have more to endure – and it’s brutal.,” he wrote in his BBC Sport column.

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