Warren Signs Tony Bellew

04.07.07 - Liverpool light-heavyweight sensation Tony Bellew says he wants to follow in the footsteps of former world champion John Conteh after signing professional terms with Frank Warren. The 23-year-old, a three-time ABA heavyweight champion, is hoping to emulate the feats of his home city's most famous fighter..

Like Bellew, Conteh was an ABA champ, before winning British, Commonwealth, European and WBC titles at 175 pounds.

" John is a big hero of mine, one of the best fighters to have come out of the UK, if not the best, and I'd love to go on and achieve what he did," said Bellew.

" To be talked about in the same breath as him is pretty amazing. I've met him a few times and he's a great guy, although I'm not sure he knew who I was! Once I start winning titles, hopefully that will all change.

Bellew, who fought out of the world famous Rotunda ABC as an amateur, didn't start boxing until he was 17 having previously represented Great Britain at kick boxing.

Of 47 amateur fights, he won 40, 32 inside the distance, and earned the nickname "The Bomber" because of his punching power.

And he is hoping that power will transfer to the professional ranks.

" It's going to be tough getting down to light-heavyweight having always fought as a heavyweight, but it's even worse news for my opponents," said Bellew.

" There will be a few guys with a high ranking who are going to get knocked out.

" The light-heavyweight division in the UK is not as talented as others, so I can definitely make an impact.

" And the weight shouldn't be too much of a problem as I'll have a day to recover rather than the hour or so you get in the amateurs."

Bellew, who will be trained by former WBU middleweight champion Anthony Farnell, isn't all about brawn though - he trained as an accountant while an amateur, although he now plans to put his career in finance on hold.

" I'm not you average boxer," he said. "I've already got plans for where I'm going to invest my money, and my financial background will come in handy when it comes to making investment decisions.

" I want to provide a good future for my son Corey, and as you don't earn money for overtime in this sport the plan at the moment is to get in and out of the ring as quickly as possible to maximise my earning potential."

Set for his professional debut in September, Bellew - who decided to leave the amateur ranks after becoming increasingly frustrated with the way his career was progressing - will join a number of other Liverpudlians on Frank Warren's books.

" There's a great scene up here at the moment with the likes of Paul Smith, Derry Matthews, Joe McNally and loads of top amateurs," said Bellew. "We're a proud boxing city and I want to become a part of the boxing tradition."

Promoter Warren added: "I'm delighted to have signed Tony, one of the best amateurs out there at the moment.

" From what I've seen, as long as he lives the life, he has every chance of matching the achievements of Conteh and I'm very excited he'll be boxing out of my stable."

Article posted on 04.07.2007

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