22
Jul
2019

Exclusive: Tony Bellew airs views on WBC mandatory Mairis Briedis

Phil Jay 24/11/2016

Lawrence Lustig

Plenty has been made public about the potential for a massive UK clash between Tony Bellew and David Haye in recent months despite the small matter of a mandatory challenger being ordered by the WBC.

Bellew’s win over BJ Flores came with a stipulation from the World Boxing Council stating ‘Bomber’ would put his WBC cruiserweight belt on the line against Latvian dangerman Mairis Briedis in his next outing.

The 33 year-old Evertonian has admitted he has half an eye on a unification, although the Briedis situation may have to be addressed beforehand should Bellew ultimately want to keep his green and gold strap.

“I’m looking at Briedis and I’m looking at Denis Lebedev v Murat Gassiev, plus the Oleksandr Usyk v Thabiso Mchunu winner as all of those fights happen in December,” Bellew exclusively told World Boxing News.

“I’ll play it by ear, but ultimately I’ll leave the business side of things with my business colleagues. They know that side of the game better than me so I’ll place my next move firmly in their hands.

“With Briedis, although there’s probably not a lot of money in it, the fight is a mandatory. Let’s be honest, there wasn’t much money in the BJ Flores fight but I just wanted to shut him up.

“Briedis hasn’t really said a word, maybe I wish he would.”

Asked his thoughts on Briedis beating former Team GB star Simon Vallily on his recent undercard at the Echo Arena, Bellew was more interested in sending out a warning to his possible future opponent.

“I thought he performed well against Vallily so people cannot underestimate him. Vallily was also one of my main sparring partners for that last fight and he’s a good fighter but ultimately he’s not me. I bring a lot more to the table at the end of the day,” pointed out Bellew.

“I bang with both hands. I can end a fight in the first second or the last second and Briedis is yet to fight anybody who can do that.

“His best win is probably at heavyweight against Manuel Charr but these fellas are not on the same level as me.

“I’ve got wins over the likes of Makabu, Masternak and was the first man to stop Flores. At light-heavyweight, I beat good contenders in Isaac Chilemba and Edison Miranda and was the only fighter ever to really dominate Ovill McKenzie, good and proper.

“As good as Mairis Briedis is, he’s unproven and I am proven, tried and tested,” he added.

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