By Padraig Ivory: Liverpool’s Tony Bellew is coursing the perimeter of the light heavyweight division’s elite. The past 12 months have proven a successful exercise in raising the profile of the 30 year old fighter. Matchroom boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has insured Tony is a regular feature on Sky Sports TV as the path to a second world title challenge unfolds.
This year has incorporated three successful outings for the rangy orthodox Bellew. April brought a TKO win as Danny McIntosh failed to grapple the British light heavyweight from the Liverpudlian. The build up to this bout had enthralled the boxing public as the pair traded verbal jabs throughout. When the time for combat arrived it was the 6’2 frame of Bellew that lived up to the pre-fight bravado as McIntosh met the canvas in round 4 and decisively once more in round 5.
September brought a new challenge for the Bellew uprising. Seasoned campaigner Edison Miranda made the journey across the pond, with his renowned heavy artillery, to become Tony’s 19th professional foe. The Colombian ‘Pantera’ boasted a wealth of experience having shared the ring with Bute, Ward, Green, Pavlik and Abraham amongst others. Armed with a 70% KO statistic the declining Miranda had viewed Bellew as his final opportunity to re-enter title contention.
‘Bomber’ however delivered the result he craved and it was Edison who became a KO fatality. The feared South American succumbed to pressure from Bellew in the second half of the fight. Tony exercised extreme patience early in the fight and showed maybe too much respect to his opponent as he picked up the WBC International light heavyweight belt.
Next up for the part time boxing pundit was a chance to add the WBC Silver light heavyweight to his spiralling trophy cabinet. Standing in the blue corner would be the South American light heavyweight champion Roberto Bolonti. The Argentinean’s record was white washed to an impressive 30-1 record however Bellew was clearly a step up for the away fighter. A horrendous cut in the opening round changed the dynamics of the fight plot from the very outset.
Bellew applied controlled pressure throughout and seemed to carry out a risk-benefit analysis of every attack as he strived to save his cut from further punishment. Bolonti felt the Englishman’s power and was forced to rise from the canvas in rounds 1 and 3. After 12 entertaining rounds ‘Bomber’ had answered another question as he somehow kept his composure for 12 rounds knowing a single punch could force the doctor to halt proceedings.
The future looks promising and no doubt Mr Hearn will provide the Everton fanatic the chance to fight for a world title in 2013. Tony is currently ranked number 3 with the WBC and 10 with the IBO and is delicately placed within touching distance of a massive fight with the regular champion Chad Dawson. The American is an extremely tricky operator and Bellew will have to produce the performance of his career to realise a childhood dream and lift that coveted green WBC belt.
The fuse is ready to be ignited and “Bomber” will be aiming to explode internationally in 2013.