In the wake of sealing his legacy with a career-defining victory at Everton FC’s Goodison Park stadium, Tony Bellew has revealed he was forced to drop his hardened persona just hours before the bell on Sunday night.
Bellew was completely focused on his bid to see off the challenge of Ilunga Makabu to claim the vacant WBC cruiserweight title when ‘The Bomber’ saw his young son during the build-up. The 33 year-old allows himself only limited access to his wife and children during camp in a bid to keep his fighting mentally switched on.
With his desire to be a champion so high, Bellew needed to keep his angry head on pre-fight for as much time as possible and says it was hard to keep his emotions under control as he prepared to make history.
“It frightens me sometimes how far I am willing to go,” said Bellew.
“But I won. And I never dreamed this would be possible. When it happened in the Creed movie I thought this was as close as it was going to get. But I have done it. It is unbelievable. I go down in boxing books and although I was too fat to play football I go down in Everton’s books for fighting here.
“This is the first fight my son has been allowed to come to. It kind of freaked me out. I didn’t want to see him or her and it is the only weak part of me, my family. I am horrible when it comes to a fight and my wife and kids are my weakness.
“I saw him in the tunnel at 7pm and it broke me to bits. I was in tears at 7.15. I saw him and I was heartbroken.
Bellew became the 13th current world champion from the British Isles by knocking Makabu out spectacularly in the third round and is stipulated to face solid Russian and Champion in Recess Grigory Drozd before the end of 2016.