It was plain for all to see how much tonight’s WBC silver light-heavyweight title defence means to belt holder Tony Bellew as the likeable Liverpudlian squared up to Isaac Chilema during the fight week formalities.
The 30 year-old wants to give his family a good life and so desperately wants to be a world champion that he sees anyone standing in his way as potentially taking food directly out of his loved ones mouths.
Intensity on that level can be good for a fighter to keep him focused on the job, but Bellew has to make sure that his feeling’s are kept under wraps against a dangerous world-class operator like Chilemba.
With Bellew pointing everything to a tear-up, don’t be surprised to see similar tactics to those the devout Everton used against Ovill McKenzie in their rematch after the two had punched seven bells out of each other in the first meeting.
‘The Bomber’ has to be smart, used his boxing skills to frustrate Chilemba in the early to mid-rounds and wear the South African down to what eventually could be a pleasing late stoppage win for all concered in the Bellew camp.
The fact that Chilemba, 25, was down twice and in trouble against Maxim Vlasov two years ago can buoy Bellew into believing that the knockout is there for the taking, although the ‘Golden Boy’ came back to win and the Scouser has to weary of the statistic that his Malawi-born opponent has beaten every fighter faced in his career.
If Bellew decides to go to war with Chilemba, it would be playing right into the hands of the former 168lb world champion and for me, is the only way the fight can go the way of the underdog.
I can see a smiling Bellew on his way to a possible world title clash at the end of the year if the tactics are right, although a Chilemba upset would not be a surprise, within the distance, if emotions get the better of the Briton.