After falling short in a second world title bid last month in Canada, Liverpudlian Tony Bellew has dusted himself down and refocused his goal on claiming top honours at the cruiserweight limit.
The 31 year-old, who was stopped in six rounds by the top fighter at light-heavyweight in Adonis Stevenson, wasted no time announcing his intentions on the back of his second career defeat and hopes to make his debut at the new weight in March.
Bellew has already begun the groundwork with promoter Eddie Hearn for what he hopes will culminate in another championship attempt after admitting to WBN that the move north in weight couldn’t have come soon enough.
“Me and Eddie have spoken about it and we all agree it’s time to move up,” Bellew told World Boxing News.
“I knew on the day of the Stevenson weigh in it was time as I have never ever had to dry out to make weight before. That it is not an excuse as most fighters dry out to make weight, but it was a first for me and that’s a fact. I always said if that happened I would move up straight away.
“Even If I would have beaten Stevenson, then I was only staying around for one more fight at 175lbs and that was it. I’m gutted I never achieved what I wanted to at 175, but I gave it everything and lost to the best fighter in the division.”
Now begins the transitional part for Bellew as the former British champion builds himself up to make an impact at 200lbs, a jump that even some of the better operators at light-heavyweight have found difficult in the past.
‘The Bomber’ is confident his past experience campaigning at cruiserweight will now come into play and intends to lay down a blueprint with his trainers to ensure the switch is as seamless as possible in the coming months.
” I’ve boxed at the weight before, albeit as an amateur, but it was at the highest level in that code,” explained Bellew.
“I will be sitting down with the legendary Kerry Kaye’s and my team, which includes my boxing coach, my strength and conditioning coach and my fitness coach too. Together we will work out what is best for me and the ideal weight, but the good thing is I’m already 192lbs – so I’m happy.”
A spring debut in the higher division is already pencilled in which gives Bellew an immediate focus to take away the pain of the Stevenson disappointment, with the staunch Evertonian keeping his options open in regards to which level to begin his new journey.
“Where I start is up to Eddie and my team,” he pointed out. “I will say this much though, I’m only interested in becoming world champion. If I have to go through domestic fighters to do that then so be it, but I don’t see anyone ranked above me in the rankings that were updated recently.”
Obviously talk of a return with old rival Nathan Cleverly comes with the cruiserweight territory now that the Welshman has himself made the step up, although despite recently expressing his interest in a second fight, Bellew is careful not to let it define his future.
“(A fight with Cleverly) That’s not up to me and I have a fantastic and honest promoter who will inform me of the right fights at the right times.
“The thing is, although I don’t like the name above mentioned, I don’t actually have to entertain him nor his promoter. I believe in my ability and my team to guide me to a world title (with or without it).
“Like I said, I’m dealing with an honest man (Eddie Hearn), a man who has been in business for three decades and has never had one complaint levelled at him or his company. I’m not saying anyone is perfect because that is BS, but what I am saying is a fact.
“Eddie works with everybody and that’s another fact too. Look at the fights he’s made recently. He has made big international fights for all his fighters, so If anyone can make a big fight happen it is Matchroom.”
Clearly motivated and driven by his new outlook, Bellew still has those world title fires burning brightly, and despite suffering a first stoppage defeat, has never doubted his ability to comeback from it.
“I was gutted, but never though of retiring,” clarified Bellew. “I was heartbroken, but I’m a strong person who has come through so much in a short space of time.
“I’ve been through court battles whilst preparing for huge fights and I’ve come through bad injuries in camps and in fights.
“I’ve endured a lot and I’m still here with a huge desire to win that world title. My biggest attribute is my team and my family, without them I would not be boxing. I owe them everything!”
Bellew concluded by stating: “I just can’t put into words how lucky I am to have a certain person with me and he’d be embarrassed if I said his name but he knows who he is.
“When I become world champion, which I will, I’ll try my best to make all of them happy and proud.”.
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