Tony Bellew insists the pressure disappeared when his world title shot against Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park was confirmed, allowing him to enter the fight stress-free.
He will welcome Makabu to the home of his beloved Everton football club, in a bout for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 6pm.
However, Bellew insists fighting at the ground of his favorite football team in his home city certainly does not increase expectation.
Bellew told Sky Sports News HQ: “No pressure at all. All the pressure went the minute I knew it was going to happen here because it’s like I’ve achieved my dream. I’ve won, I’m fighting at Goodison Park, what kind of pressure is there?
The icing on cake will be winning the world title. We’ve got no work Monday morning so let’s jam this place full, Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. I’ll give you a party you’re never going to forget.”
Bellew’s WBC title shot is hot on the heels of his starring role in Hollywood film Creed, where his character ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan defeats Apollo Creed’s son.
Having tasted glory on the screen, former light-heavyweight world title challenger Bellew is adamant he will repeat the trick for real.
He said: “I’ve done it once – I’ve been world champion, I’ve defended the belt at Goodison Park but that was all in the movies. It’s time to do it for real now.
“It’s amazing, I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and, if the truth be known, I never thought this day would have been possible. I’m going to fight at Goodison Park and I’m doing it for the best belt in boxing, I just can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true, it really, really is.
“It’s the first ever boxing event here, I guess I’m part of the history books now.”