Tony Bellew gave himself a massive boost up the WBC rankings by claiming the silver version of the light-heavyweight title, but had to come through a nasty gash over his right eye to get the job done against Roberto Bolonti.
The 29 year-old looked to be on the verge of finishing the night early after putting the Argentinian down in the first and third rounds, before a glancing blow by Bolonti ripped open the cut and Bellew began to pour blood immediately.
Mick Williamson in the Liverpudlian bruiser’s corner may now have earned himself a nice Christmas bonus from Eddie Hearn for stemming the flow at a critical point at the end of the fourth as referee Victor Loughlin took a closer look.
Bellew was then forced to change tactics from his earlier bullying tactics and boxed beautifully for the remaining eight rounds to completely shut-out Bolonti as Williamson’s work on the cut surpassed expectations.
It was a mature performance from Bellew, who now moves on to a possible WBC title eliminator in the spring or beyond, and has champion Chad Dawson in his sights for a world title shot by the end of next year.
Two judges at ringside scored the bout exactly the same as me, 120-106, whilst a third gave Bolonti one round to card 119-107, but still hand Bellew a comprehensive victory at the Capital FM Arena.