Liverpool’s Tony Bellew did a number on former world title challenger Valery Brudov at the Echo Arena on Saturday night, but not without a huge scare in the seventh round that almost ended in a cruiserweight debut defeat.
‘The Bomber’ well and truly lived up to his name with three huge knockdowns that may well have stopped other fighters in their tracks, although Brudov got up from two but couldn’t manage it a third time.
Bellew, 31, began well as he tasted campaigning at 200lbs for the first time and had Brudov on the floor in the second with a lovely straight shot that saw the veteran Bulgarian hit the canvas hard. Brudov shook it off to come back at Bellew, but the staunch Evertonian was in fine form through the first five rounds and capped it off with another knockdown of the 37 year-old in the sixth.
The seventh brought the most dramatic session of the fight yet as Bellew was caught by a swinging shot early on in the round that had the former light-heavyweight in bad trouble. Looking on the verge of being stopped, Bellew took full advantage of a low blow administered by an over-eager Brudov and managed to just get through the final seconds having taking a beating over the three minutes.
Despite a telling off from trainer Dave Coldwell, Bellew was still affected by the barrage in the previous round as Brudov sensed a way back into the fight by taking another round on my card.
Into the ninth and Bellew was back on form, using his superior combinations to wear Brudov down over the next three rounds, before a massive left hook in the twelfth put the seal on a good opening performance at the weight.
Referee Phil Edwards counted the full ten as Brudov scrambled across the ring apron – to hand Bellew a 21st career triumph, after which, he called out old nemesis Nathan Cleverly for another domestic dust-up.
“I am sick of hearing about his maths degree and him changing trainers every five minutes. Just fight. That’s what we are supposed to do, I am sick of talking about it,” Bellew told Sky Sports in his post-fight interview.
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