LONDON, UK -- Tony Bellew pulled off a big upset and perhaps the most satisfying win of his career after stopping an injured David Haye in the 11th round at The O2 Arena.
Haye boxed on for half the fight after suffering a suspected snapped Achilles tendon that left him an easy target for Bellew, who floored the Londoner in the sixth and 11th rounds.
Unable to move away from Bellew's blows, Haye got up from a count in the seventh and bravely battled on until he was knocked through the ropes in the 11th round.
As Haye was climbing back into the ring, his trainer Shane McGuigan threw in the towel to the stop the fight.
After all the trash talking between the two -- and especially unpleasant comments from Haye -- Bellew celebrated his victory by telling Sky Sports Box Office: "I'm the most valuable heavyweight in the world outside the world champions."
The pair hugged in the ring after a dramatic fight and months of bad mouthing each other.
"I did not expect him to have the chin and the durability that he has," Haye said.
"Bellew, by far, was the better fighter tonight. I believe I'm more gifted but he had a bigger heart tonight. He took my best shots, got back up, and put me down. I'm at his mercy -- I can't think of world titles now."
Bellew said he was agreeable to a rematch at Goodison Park, home of Everton football club.
"I have got so much respect for David as a fighter, we can do it again," said Bellew.
Haye said pre-fight he would end Bellew's career with a quick knockout win, but it is Haye's career as an elite fighter which is now in doubt after defeat in this non-title heavyweight bout.
Haye, who flew to Germany earlier in the week to see a specialist about his Achilles, bravely fought on through the pain, but a third career loss and another serious injury -- following two serious shoulder operations since 2012 -- leave his hopes slim of fighting for a world title again.
Bellew, the WBC world cruiserweight champion, was able to land some clean blows after Haye slipped and injured his right Achilles but the Liverpool boxer had looked aggressive and promising early on. Four times Bellew was able to get to Haye and a left hook knocked him off balance.
Haye, 36, who was a world champion at both cruiserweight and heavyweight, missed with a lot of punches in the opener but had more success in the second.
Bellew, 34, who weighed in nearly a stone lighter than 16-stone Haye, caught his rival with right hands in the third.
After failing to stop it early, Haye continued to try and land the one big knockout punch and in the fourth he nearly did it with a right-left combo to the jaw that shook Bellew. His opponent did well to back-pedal away from trouble, but was caught by another big right on the ropes in the fifth round.
However, the fight turned in the sixth round when Haye slipped, perhaps on some water, and appeared to damage his Achilles.
After twice falling to the canvas, which were ruled no knockdowns, Haye was left limping around the ring and an easy target for Bellew, who forced a legitimate knockdown later in the round.
Haye refused to pull out at the end of the round but it was just target practice for Bellew in the seventh, with Haye unable to move away from danger.
In the 11th, Haye was sent through the ropes by a combination and by then McGuigan had seen enough as he threw in the towel to bring an end to Haye's punishment.
Earlier on the undercard, Welshman Lee Selby (24-1, 9 KOs) cruised to a ninth round stoppage win over Spaniard Adoni Gago (16-3-2, 5 KOs) in a non-title fight.
Ohara Davies (15-0, 12 KOs) floored British rival Derry Mathews (38-12-2, 20 KOs) twice before forcing a third round stoppage win for the fringe WBC silver super-lightweight title.
Former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi suffered a surprise setback when he was stopped by Sam Eggington by a body shot in the eighth round.
New Yorker Malignaggi (36-8, 7 KOs), 36, was effective on the counter with his quick single shots and almost forced a stoppage in the sixth round.
But Eggington's head cleared and in the eighth he delivered a sickening left to the body that left Malignaggi curled up in pain on the canvas, earning the Birmingham boxer the fringe WBC international welterweight belt.