Bellew Aims To Make McKenzie Pay; Saunders Update
Liverpool “Bomber” Tony Bellew has warned rival Ovill McKenzie that he will punish him for disrespect when they meet on July 16.
The British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight titles will be on the line at the Liverpool Echo Arena, televised live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Ricky Burns' WBO World Super-Featherweight title fight against Nicky Cook headlines the blockbuster show.
But the rematch of Bellew-McKenzie could steal its thunder given the tense build up to their fight.
It's been marred by Derby’s McKenzie accusing Bellew of being on drugs.
The challenger made the allegation after seeing Scouse hero Bellew twice climb off the floor in their thrilling first fight to secure victory.
But Bellew says he will come to regret his insolence.
"I've never heard anything so daft," said Bellew.
"But as well as being ridiculous it was massively offensive as well.
"Every time I hit McKenzie on July 16, I will be saying to him 'The drugs don't work'.
"This fight is going to be like when Muhammad Ali kept saying ‘Whats’my name’ to Ernie Terrell
"Every time I land a punch I'll be asking him 'Am I on drugs?'
"He'll regret ever making such a stupid statement by the time I've dealt with him.
"I even contemplated coming out to the classic Verve song ‘The drugs don’t work’, but I’ve stuck with my regular Z-Cars track.
"I'll definitely be shouting it at him when I've knocked him out for the second time.
"I've never done drugs and never will, and everyone who knows me can testify to that."
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Billy Joe Saunders has turned from boy to man in the last 12 months, according to his training team.
The precocious Hertford traveller went to the Olympics as an 18-year-old before turning pro with Frank Warren.
He's won his first nine fights at a canter - but there is much more to come according to Jimmy and Mark Tibbs.
Saunders is in action again on July 9 at London's ExCeL Arena.
There he challenges Gary Boulden for the Southern Arena middleweight title, his first championship fight as a professional.
And Mark Tibbs believes fans are in for a treat.
"When Billy Joe came to the gym when he first turned pro, you could see he had all the talent in the world," he said.
"But young fighters take a bit of time to mature, and I think Billy Joe needed that couple of years to find his feet.
"He's done exceptionally well so far, but in the last few months we've noticed a real improvement.
"He knows how to handle himself now, he's learnt some little tricks that you will always need as a professional fighter.
"They're not dirty tricks like elbows or headbutts, but he knows how to look after himself now.
"In sparring he's handling light-heavyweights, cruiserweights, no problem, and I think he's found out what he needs on the mental side of things as well.
"He knows what it takes in terms of dedication and committment to make it to the top, and that knowledge is going to make him a very dangerous opponent in the next couple of years.
"I would have thought that this Southern Area title could be the first of many belts. I don't want to put any pressure on Billy Joe, and we are taking this fight very seriously.
"But in the next 12 months or so I can see him going on to fight for some major belts."