News April 2019

Tony Bellew - "Iíll be looking to get rid of people and do damage"


By @John_Evans79

Tony Bellew seems to have come to a couple of sensible conclusions since his defeat at the hands of WBC light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson, last November. Rather than dwelling on the negatives of that disappointing night in Montreal, the former British and Commonwealth light heavyweight champion has come to a couple of realisations. Firstly that, in Stevenson, he came up against an excellent fighter at the peak of his powers and Ė even more importantly Ė that he is no longer able to be fully effective at light heavyweight.

Former world title challenger Valery Brudov, 41-4 (28 KOís), welcomes Bellew, 20-2-1 (12 KOís), to the Cruiserweight division this weekend and the 31 year old Liverpudlian canít wait to announce himself at 200lbs.

ďWhen I first turned professional I made a decision to get down to light heavyweight because I felt there was a gap in the market. Although I knew it was going to hurt me to get down in weight, I thought I could deal with it,Ē Bellew told Livefight. ďMaybe I could when I was 26, 27 and 28. That was ok. When you get to 30 and the weight gets harder to get off, the diet gets more strict and all of a sudden youíre struggling to get the extra pounds off, it [a move up] becomes inevitable. The only thing for me was that I was ranked number one in the world for the WBC. I was in no position to just say that I couldnít do the weight anymore. I had to stick with it.

ďIf Iíd had my way I would have moved up twelve months ago. You donít want to let people see youíre vulnerable at the weight and you always say that youíre strong at the weight but the fact of the matter is that making weight for that last fight was an absolute nightmare. I make no excuses. I lost to the better man on the night but Iím not stupid. I know there are contributing factors as to why I lost and thatís just the way it goes.

ďMy confidence has taken a dip and a huge smash but at the same time I know that Iíve gone in with a pound for pound fighter. A win would do wonders for me but Iím not expecting a blow out. Iím expecting a really tough, hard fight. I know what Valery Brudov is about. Heís vastly experienced and punches quite well with either hand. Heís consistent and a pretty solid all round kind of operator. At this moment heís 45-4 and heís got more knockouts than Iíve had fights. Heís had 28 knockouts and Iíve had 23 fights.

ďHe hasnít lost to anybody who isnít world class. I class this as me arriving on the cruiserweight scene. Iím proving I can mix it with the big boys. For me, Brudov is world rated. Heís a gatekeeper. Listen, Iím not gonna tell lies and say that this guy is world class or one of the best cruiserweights in the world. The fact of the matter is that heís not. What he is is a gatekeeper to world class.Ē

Bellewís move to the cruiserweight division has long been rumoured. Boiling his 6ft 3in frame down to the 175lbs light heavyweight limit has never been easy but he has looked increasingly drawn on the scales ahead of recent fights and the final days before the Stevenson fight were apparently something of an ordeal. The dangerous puncher that blazed his way to titles was replaced by a more cautious boxer. Changing weight classes after a defeat seems almost de rigueur nowadays but, in Bellewís case, the move is one of necessity.

ďI feel fantastic to be honest. I was a stone heavier on the night of the [Stevenson] fight and two stone heavier within ten days of the fight. Putting the weight on was never an issue. Iím sparring with guys and I canít say I feel out of my depth or out of my size range,Ē he said.

ďEvery single person Iíve laid a glove on Ė whether they be light heavyweight or cruiserweight Ė has felt what Iíve got. Every single person Iíve ever sparred or fought has felt what Iíve got and itís gonna be no different at cruiserweight.

ďUsually Iíd spar at around 13st 7lbs or 13st 10lbs. There or thereabouts. I didnít like blowing up at light heavyweight and wouldnít go above the 14st mark but Iíd have to diet to get to that. Iíd find myself tiring a lot and using my boxing ability to disguise the fact that youíre tired and a little bit drained. At this weight I donít think there will be any of that. Donít get me wrong, Iíll still stick to the gameplan to a certain extent but the big thing with me will be that I wonít be getting tired in fights and wonít be looking to box that much. Iíll be looking to get rid of people and do damage.

ďThe one thing about me is that Iíll always fight when Iím backed into a corner but the biggest factor for me is that, when I was at light heavyweight, I always knew there was a vulnerability factor to me. Shedding 20lbs in a camp is not ideal and Iíve always known that itís left marks on me and left its scars. At this weight, I donít think thereís any vulnerability to me and Iíll have no problems standing and trading with anybody. People will get a fright at how much quicker I am than these cruiserweights. Also, Iíve always had one punch power. Iíve had that since I was a kid. These people are gonna have a fright when I start landing clean shots. Theyíre not gonna see them.

ďI believe Ė without a shadow of a doubt Ė that Iíll be one of the quickest cruiserweights in the world. For once, Iím not gonna be one of the slower ones in the division who takes time to build up into fights. Iíll be the quick one who can get off to a quick start and maintain that weight.Ē

It could be argued that Bellewís route to Adonis Stevenson was a hard road to glory. He may not have faced a murderís row of opponents on his way to his ultimately unsuccessful bid for the WBC title but he took on a series of tough, awkward fighters who Ė although respected within the sport Ė failed to raise the pulse of the casual fan. In comparison, the road to success in the cruiserweight division could be paved with gold. The cruiserweight division is big news in Europe and Bellew is a big name and character. It seems like they are made for each other.

ďItís a great division to be in. There are some fantastic fights there and some great champions. Iíve just got to get my name out there. A win over Brudov should do that and move me up the rankings. Iím already number seven with the WBC.

ďThere are some great money fights available. People forget that Iíve fought some really tough names at light heavyweight and Iíve gone through a whoís who really. I beat a really good undefeated fighter in Isaac Chilemba and guys like Edison Miranda, Roberto Bolonti and knocked out a former European champion in Danny McIntosh.
ďIt would have been a lot harder to go through the cruiserweight fighters in that sort of style. There are some hard fights out there for me. I donít want to come back to the domestic scene because without being disrespectful I think Iíd blast through a lot of guys domestically.

ďCruiserweight is a bit different. To get to the top youíre gonna have to go through some hard fights and big names but I really do relish those opportunities because I want to make my name in this division. I want to fight the best and I donít want to get a chance because I can see tickets or open my mouth at a press conference. I want to earn my chance to fight for a title.Ē

Over the past two years, Bellew has always had a target to aim for and a position to lose. Simply winning became far more important than winning in style. With a title shot on the horizon and those nagging thoughts about his own vulnerability, he was never going to risk everything by going to unnecessary war with the likes of Roberto Bolonti. Rather than concentrating solely on Saturdayís task and taking the time to relax into his new weight division, Bellew has carried his ambitions and hopes 25lbs up the weight scale.

ďIím a dream chaser. Thatís just me in life. Iím never happy with a loss. In fact, Iím disgusted that I lost. Iím not happy at all. At the same time, the moment I lost I set my goals on the cruiserweight world title. Itís not that Iím relaxed, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself. Not just to provide for my family but also to succeed in the goals that I set myself. From day one when I turned professional, my goal was to become a world champion and I wonít rest until Iíve become one. Thatís the top and bottom of it to be honest. I will become one. I donít know who Iím gonna have to go through to get it but Iím gonna do it.

ďI havenít taken my foot off the gas. Iím also looking forward to getting back home to the arena. Thatís a big factor for me. Thereís an awful lot of pressure on my shoulders. Iím topping the bill on a massive night of boxing in my home city and thereís gonna be 8,000 fans in that arena and theyíre not coming to see tip tap boxing match; theyíre coming to see somebody get hurt. Iíve got to try and produce that.Ē

Tony Bellewís clash with Valery Brudov tops a great night of action in Liverpool, as popular Super Middleweight Rocky Fielding defends his Commonwealth title against former champion Charles Adamu.

Unbeaten Welterweight star Kell Brook faces Alvaro Robles in a ten-round clash, London Lightweight Kevin Mitchell will also be in action on Merseyside as he builds towards a big fight in the summer, exciting youngster Robbie Davies Jnr faces his fifth pro.

Tickets are on sale priced £30, £40, £60 and ringside seats at £100 available from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and at

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