By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
TONY BELLEW has been challenged to a toe-to-toe battle at Alexandra Palace tonight.
The Scouser meets big-punching Edison Miranda with the WBC International belt on the line.
Miranda, 31, who has stopped 17 of his opponents, wants a good old-fashioned scrap.
The Colombian, who has won 35 of his 42 fights, has written off British light-heavyweight champion Bellew’s chances.
He said: “I do not consider Tony Bellew a big, powerful hitter. I challenge him to go toe-to-toe with me in the middle of the ring.
“Then he will know what it is like to be hit by a real man. I know what he is like and I know just how powerful I am.”
But the bravado of Miranda may not reflect his ring abilities these days as he is no longer the force he was a few years ago.
Six years ago he broke Arthur Abraham’s jaw, despite losing, and also stopped London hardman Howard Eastman.
Even with those days gone now, Bellew says he will not underestimate his former middleweight opponent tonight.
Bellew, 29, with a record of 17 wins and one loss, said: “Miranda is the most dangerous opponent of my career.
“I am not saying he’s the best, but he’s the most dangerous. He can end a fight with shots from either hand and I’ve got to take him seriously.”
Bellew believes he still has the class to overcome his opponent.
He said: “I think he can be a one-dimensional fighter. But he has fought some great names and knocked out some great names. He’s still a dangerous puncher, even though he may have dipped a bit.
“But I always remember that people have said over the years that the last thing a fighter loses is his punching ability.
“I’ve been studying Edison Miranda since the day I turned pro. The guy has got an unreal right-hand knockout punch. And he’s clever, the way he goes about it. He is very structured about the way he attacks. He’s even sly, the way he does it, and pulls you into a false sense of security.
“I don’t think he will have faced someone who has studied him like I have and I am ready for whatever happens. I intend to make this another victory night for me.”
PREDICTION: Miranda will be a tough nut to crack but I’m taking Bomber Bellew to win around the sixth.