News May 2019

'Mersey Beat' Ringside Report. Bellew is back, Brook, Mitchell win



Tony Bellew returned to Liverpool’s Echo Arena last night hoping to begin a new chapter in his career and make an immediate impact in the cruiserweight division. Kell Brook and Kevin Mitchell warmed up for proposed world title fights, Rocky Fielding failed to make weight for his Commonwealth title fight but still took on Charles Adamu and there were keep busy fights for some of Matchroom’s young stars.

As the show was titled ‘Mersey Beat’, let’s use some of The Beatles most famous hits to sum up the nights action.

‘Revolution’ – Tony Bellew KO12 Valery Brudov

Tony Bellew introduced himself to the cruiserweight division and reintroduced himself to British fight fans with a twelfth round stoppage of Valery Brudov. There were lots of new facets to Bellew, 21-2 (13 KO’s), last night and they all contributed to an impressive performance.

Dave Coldwell replaced Mick McCallister as head trainer. The jabbing, negative Bellew of recent fights was replaced by a jabbing, aggressive one and the 31 year old looked strong and healthy rather than frail and vulnerable.

Bellew’s first foray into the 200lb division provided him with a pretty good idea of what he can expect in the future. From here on in, Bellew will be facing big, tough aggressive fighters who may not have the speed to trouble him but will certainly possess the power.

Much was made of Bellew rediscovering his power up at cruiserweight but maybe the extra weight will actually help him become more robust and handle a shot better. Brudov shook him badly in the seventh round but whereas similar shots from light heavyweights like Adonis Stevenson, Ovil McKenzie and Bob Ajisafe floored him, Bellew was able to stay upright and maul and hold until the Russian allowed him some precious recovery time with an accidental low blow.

Bellew’s hand speed was impressive and when he put straight punches together Brudov found it impossible to cope. The Russian was floored three times in total, twice by hard straight right hands thrown behind other punches and – finally – during an exchange of left hooks. Bellew’s handspeed ensured his punch arrived fractionally before Brudov’s.

Bellew also seemed willing to stand and trade with the 37 year old, something that is required to be successful in today’s cruiserweight division.

I would assume that the vast majority of people throwing Marco Huck’s name around following the fight were either aiming to draw attention to Bellew’s arrival in the 200lb division or simply haven’t seen the long reigning WBO champion fight. Huck is an entirely different animal to Brudov and - with Bellew showing exciting glimpses of his old form – it would be senseless to rush him into such a hard fight.

Let Bellew rebuild his confidence, rebuild his body and become the formidable cruiserweight he showed signs of last night.

‘When I’m 64’ – Rocky Fielding WPTS 12 Charles Adamu

Rocky Fielding, 18-0 (10 KO’s), turned up 6lbs overweight for his fight with Ghanaian veteran Charles Adamu – forfeiting his Commonwealth super middleweight title in the process – and although he coasted to a unanimous decision, the 26 year old also turned in a listless performance. Making weight is part of the sport and I found the entire scenario regarding Fielding’s decision to stop trying to make 168lbs on the morning of the weigh in absolutely ridiculous. Anyway, on to the fight.

Fielding dropped Adamu briefly with a jab in the seventh round but other than that the fight was a dour twelve round plod. Adamu looked incredibly old at times but knows more than enough to survive nights like last Saturday.

With Adamu out of the way, Fielding now seems certain to begin war with the Smith family. Eldest brother Paul currently holds the British title and has long stated desire to keep the belt for good. The youngest of the siblings, Callum, is racing through the division and will have his eyes on the prized title once Paul leaves the domestic scene behind. As mandatory challenger, Fielding finds himself waiting to see who he will face.

The BBBoC have declared that Smith must defend his title against Fielding by the end of June but – as ever in boxing – things are never easy. Paul carries a high ranking with the WBO and there have been talks of him getting a shot at current champion Arthur Abraham which would obviously take precedence over another British title fight. A fight between Fielding and either Smith would be intriguing wherever it happened but really has only one home: Liverpool. Add scheduling difficulties to the mix.

‘Hello, Goodbye’ – Kevin Mitchell KO2 Mikheil Avakyan

Kevin Mitchell, 37-2 (20 KO’s), blew away Mikheil Avakyan, who has somehow managed to put together a 21-11-4 (8 KO’s) record, inside two rounds. Mitchell, 29, will have gained far more from the weeks spent in the gym training than the minutes spent inside the ring fighting.

With a third world title fight, against IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vasquez, pencilled in for the Froch- Groves rematch card at Wembley making sure the notoriously wayward Mitchell stays focused is crucial. Avakyan was so unorthodox and awkward that Mitchell struggled to land anything clean. The Georgian was floored three times but barely took a solid shot.

Vazquez may not set the world alight with devastating, thrilling performances but is a skilful, solid operator accustomed to going the distance and totally negating opponents with his awkward style. Mitchell will need plenty of head movement and a high workrate to beat him and – although he didn’t need to move his head at all last night – he did at least get a good few weeks training in his legs.

‘The Long and Winding Road’ - Kell Brook TKO8 Alvaro Robles

Kell Brook’s path to a world title fight finally seems clear after a routine eighth round stoppage of Alvaro Robles. The ‘Mexican Tyson’ walked forward and threw plenty of punches but was neither quick or powerful enough to trouble the Sheffield man. Brook could afford to stand in front of Robles and let his hard, fast shots go. Robles, 17-3 (15 KO’s), was brave and although fighters of his style and calibre are tailor made for Brook, at least he came to fight.

Over the next few weeks you may read that Brook, 32-0 (22 KO’s), can “sit and wait” to find out whether he will face current IBF champion Shawn Porter or Paulie Malignaggi this summer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brook, 27, needs to back in the gym, keeping his weight under control and preparing for the night he has waited so long for. Porter or Malignaggi will have a quick turnaround between fights and Brook needs to be in perfect condition to take advantage.

Unless, of course, Porter or Malignaggi pick up an injury in their April 19 fight………………..

‘Nowhere Man’ - Neil Perkins WPTS 8 Erick Ochieng

Liverpool’s Neil Perkins handed Erick Ochieng his third consecutive defeat, leaving the colourful Kenyan born welterweight in the middle of a genuine career crisis. 2005 World Championship bronze medallist, Perkins, performed well in his first real test but Ochieng put in a terrible performance. He seemed to lack balance from the first bell and was floored by a grazing left hand in the second round. He never came close to figuring out ‘The Kirkdale Leopard’ and drifted to a way too close 76-78 eight round defeat.

Ochieng, 14-4 (4 KO’s) is slated to appear in an upcoming edition of Prizefighter. It may not be overstating matters to say that in order to be considered a viable title level opponent again, he needs to win it. Perkins is 34 and can’t afford to rest on his laurels. Maybe campaigning for a position in that same Prizefighter show would be a wise decision. The tournament may be derided in some quarters but it usually results in some sort of title fight for the winner and could be a God send for a fighter like Perkins, now 6-0 (1 KO).


Robbie Davies Jnr WPTS8 Mark McKray
John Ryder WPTS6 George Kandelaki
Ryan Moorhead WPTS4 Ibrar Riyaz
Adam Ismail WPTS4 Duane Green

Newsletters Signup