As purse bids loomed for a mandatory title clash with Ukrainian Dmytro Kucher, Bellew decided to focus all his efforts on securing a third chance at a recognised belt, which he says is close.
Bellew, 33, won his first EBU crown last month when defeating Polish puncher Mateusz Masternak via a hard-fought unanimous decision in London and has his sights firmly set on facing one of the divisional rulers in the coming months.
“I vacated the European title as a world title is next,” Bellew exclusively told World Boxing News on Thursday morning.
“I don’t believe in vacating titles, but under these circumstances, I had no choice. The world title is next and there is no time for a defence of the European title. I also believe Masternak is better than Kucher so it would be a step backwards in all honesty
“I just want to become world champion. I’ve won the British, Commonwealth and now European so there is just one left to get and that is my focus now.”
Fights against Denis Lebedev or Grigory Drozd at his beloved Goodison Park have been touted as the best possibilities for ‘The Bomber’ as WBO belt holder Krzysztof Glowacki is currently eyeing up a first defence in February or March.
IBF champion Victor Ramirez, who recently out-pointed former foe Ovill McKenzie, has seemingly been ruled out in recent weeks – leaving Bellew with just a couple of solid options on the table unless things dramatically change in the meantime.