This Sunday, May 29th at the Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, hometown fighter Tony “The Bomber” Bellew (26-2-1) faces Congolese fighter Ilunga Makabu (19-1) for the vacant WBC version of the cruiserweight world title.
For Bellew, this is his third attempt at a world title belt. The first two attempts came when Bellew was fighting as a light heavyweight, and Bellew considers them learning experiences and all part of the preparation for Sunday.
His first shot at a world title came in October of 2011 when he faced fellow countryman Nathan Cleverly in a match that started a rivalry. Cleverly had come by the WBO world title at 175 lbs via the “interim” belt route, and Bellew has publically stated that the first fight between the two was a meeting between two younger fighters and was not a world title level fight.
Bellew went back to work, securing the WBC’s Silver belt in November of 2012. He had a draw and then subsequently defeated Isaac Chilemba, earning a second world title shot. Bellew traveled to Canada in November of 2013 to face Adonis Stevenson and Bellew was stopped inside of six rounds.
Bellew assessed the situation and a move to cruiserweight was executed. Bellew has adjusted to the new weight class very well, going 6-0 since then including a split decision win in a re-match with Cleverly, who has since returned to light heavy.
Makabu will be making his debut in England. The southpaw who now resides in South Africa has fought in Monaco and Luxembourg for travel experience. That may not be enough to help him adjust to the Bellew-mad Liverpool crowd. Makabu lost his professional debut and has reeled off 19 wins since, and that includes 18 KOs.
Heading into the fight, the sport books have given Makabu the position as favorite, paying -185 while Bellew is returning at +160.
Bellew will be trying to prove the bookmakers wrong. He feels he has the experience and that he has come a long way as a cruiserweight. Bellew has put in the work to make this third shot the charm, or at least he thinks so. We find out if this the case on Sunday.