In a brawl from start to finish, World Boxing Council cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs) chopped down a game but limited 37-year-old BJ Flores (32-3-1, 20 KOs) in a third round knockout on Saturday night to retain his WBC title in his first defense at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
Flores was put down on the canvas four times in getting dropped x 3 in the 2nd round, and x 1 in the 3rd round. Flores failed to beat the count after the fourth knockdown of the fight in round 3. Referee Ian John Lewis then halted the fight at 2:11 of the round. Lewis failed to make a call in round two after Bellew hit Flores with a clear low blow that had him doubled over and in pain.
Instead of giving Flores a chance to recover from the low blow, Lewis let Bellew continue to punch him until he dropped to the canvas. It’s unclear whether you can blame Flores for failing to protect himself or not after he was hit low, because it was so blatant. A good referee sees that and does something about. It was odd that referee Ian John Lewis not only missed the shot, but then didn’t give Flores the benefit of the doubt. It was bad to watch.
After the fight ended, Bellew started to promote his next fight, which will likely be against heavyweight David Haye. With the cameras rolling, Bellew hopped out of the ring and started trying to get at Haye. It was pure theatrics that appeared to be designed to try and sell a fight between Bellew and Haye. It was pretty obvious this was going to happen even before the fight tonight.
There’s no word what happens with Bellew’s #1 WBC mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis, who is waiting and waiting. Bellew was allowed to sidestep Briedis tonight by facing #14 WBC Flores, who had no power to speak of. The magic question is will the WBC allow Bellew to sidestep Briedis a second time by letting him freeze his WBC title while he moves up in weight to the heavyweight division to face Haye? Is it fair to Briedis that the WBC freezes Bellew’s title while he fights in the heavyweight division? It would be fairer if the WBC gave Briedis the interim WBC title and allowed Bellew to go ahead and fight Haye.
Other boxing results on the card:
Mairis Briedis TKO 3 Simon Vallily
Luke Campbell KO 4 Derry Mathews
Ryan Burnett UD 12 Ryan Farrag
Sean Dodd SD 10 Francesco Patera