Liverpool puncher Tony Bellew has updated WBN regarding his anticipated return to the ring as ‘The Bomber’ edges nearer to world title shot at the cruiserweight limit.
The 32 year-old has been in fine form since moving up from 175 pounds in March 2014 which was capped off in fine style last year with a revenge victory over arch-rival Nathan Cleverly at the Echo Arena in his hometown.
Bellew, who is is being linked to challenging WBO and IBF title holders Marco Huck or Yoan Hernandez in the summer, has exclusively revealed to WBN this week that he fully expects home advantage if a deal can be struck with either of the German-based champions.
“We are talking to both parties and are close to agreeing a deal soon enough,” Bellew told World Boxing News.
“They are the best two fighters in the division and also the longest reigning champions, so it makes sense to fight one of them.
“I’ve travelled up and down the country and abroad since joining Matchroom, but I believe it makes sense fighting in Liverpool, financially and support wise. Scousers back their own so let’s just say I’m lucky to be a Scouser.”
Huck and Herndandez seem viable fights to make, although a potential spanner has been thrown into making a clash with the latter as the IBF have announced that Bellew’s compatriot Ola Afolabi is to fight Victor Ramirez for the interim title next month.
The could mean Afolabi goes ahead of Bellew in the pecking order for a summer bout with the Cuban, whilst WBA champion Denis Lebedev is set to take on his mandatory Youri Kalenga in Moscow on the same date making April 10 a huge night for the division.
“Lebedev v Kalenga is a good fight,” said Bellew. “Kalenga hasn’t much experience at the top level but is a serious threat and has been brilliantly managed by Gary Hyde. He’s been very open with his strategy of how he’s worked Kalenga into a world title fight so early in his career and we will see when they fight if it’s too much too soon.
“I rate Lebedev as the weakest champion but even so he’s still a very good fighter. All the champions are good in this division, I just see Lebedev as the most 1 dimensional of them all.
“As for Afolabi, it’s simple…I want a world champion and I’m up for facing any of them. Preferably the best one to be honest. If Ola wins a title then yes I’ll fight him no problem. I respect Ola cos he’s done it the hard way and I’ll say this much, he was robbed in that so-called “draw” with Huck so he should have already been a world champion in my eyes.”
It all means there are plenty of options for Bellew when the devout Evertonian finally graces the ring in a sure-fire barnstormer on Merseyside – with a third world title shot firmly in his sights.