By Phil Barnett, Press Association Sport (@barnettoPA)
World title contender Tony Bellew hopes to capitalise on Chad Dawson’s recent disappointment by securing a shot at the WBC light-heavyweight champion sooner than he expected.
Liverpudlian Bellew recently became the WBC’s number one contender ahead of his final eliminator against fellow hopeful Isaac Chilemba next month.
Victory over Chilemba will rubber-stamp his position as mandatory challenger for Dawson’s prestigious green belt. He was then set to wait for the outcome of the American champion’s next fight, against Canadian Jean Pascal on May 25, before beginning negotiations.
However, Pascal is set to pull out of the title challenge in favour of a lucrative scrap with fellow Canadian favourite Lucian Bute.
That leaves Dawson in limbo and may offer Bellew a quick way in should he beat Malawian Chilemba.
“The Chilemba fight is the biggest and toughest of my career by far,” Bellew told Press Association Sport.
“We know what’s at stake. Chad Dawson is a step closer now, especially after this Pascal v Bute rumour. But I’m not getting carried away, I’m just looking forward.
“The future is looking really good now and I’m one fight away from the massive fight I want.”
Dawson (31-2, 17KOs) is a respected but unspectacular champion and Bellew (19-1, 12KOs) unsurprisingly believes he has the measure of him.
“I’ve seen the blueprint and I know what he’s about,” he said. “I know he’s a good fighter and I respect him but at the end of the day when you get in the ring, it’s just you and him and no respect gets shown.
“It is what it is and I’ll just keep winning.”
Bellew will take time out of training for his March 30 fight with Chilemba to go and support fellow Scouser David Price this Saturday.
Price faces former two-time world title challenger Tony Thompson as he moves towards global honours himself.
“I’ll be there screaming for my mate on Saturday,” he said. “To have two world champions in Liverpool is the dream.
“He is a flag-bearer for this city and he’s doing fantastically at the moment.
“I hope he demolishes Tony Thompson and I’m sure he will, then it’s on to bigger and better things.”