Ilunga ‘Junior’ Makabu went down in three rounds to a frenzied Bellew after dropping the home fighter in the first round. Bellew’s onslaught for the baying Liverpool crowd ultimately proved too much for the Congan, who succumbed on the ropes following a flurry of heavy shots.
The 28 year-old is now regrouping for his return but took time out to give WBN a prediction ahead of Bellew’s first defence of the green and gold strap at the Echo Arena on Saturday night.
“I have big respect for both fighters, but for me, it’s still going to be Tony Bellew as the WBC world champion after this fight,” Makabu exclusively told World Boxing News.
“BJ Flores is a contender and will try to spring the surprise result, but there’s no way he can beat Tony,” he added.
Regarding his own future, Makabu went away to figure out what went wrong on Merseyside before embarking on a fresh training camp earlier this year.
“I am training very, very hard in South Africa to come back soon and stronger than ever against anybody who is a world class cruiserweight.
“Everybody watched my last fight against Tony, but I learnt from my defeat and you will see me stronger in the ring soon.”
“I will still be in this cruiser division as I believe I am necessary and matter for the future. I can play my part. As yet I have no date for my next fight but I believe it will be before the end of this year.
“I’m here anytime if anybody wants to fight. I want to come back against a world class opponent. I will face Oleksandr Usyk as he is a champion or the same goes for Marco Huck, anybody at all,” Makabu said.
Bellew, 33, is eyeing a massive fight at the heavyweight limit against British rival David Haye should he overcome his American challenger – who earned his shot following a social media spat between the pair.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has promised to do all he can to make the fight with Haye, although Bellew must firstly take care of business and keep focused on his upcoming opponent.
Flores is in the twilight of his career following a couple of high-profile failures at the top level and the 37 year-old finds himself in last chance saloon on what will be his UK debut against a confident champion.