Tony Bellew says his move to Cruiserweight means he no longer has to fight the scales and his opponent, as he makes his bow at the weight against Valery Brudov at the Echo Arena on Saturday, live on Sky Sports for the vacant WBO International title.
Bellew steps up from Light Heavyweight after he travelled to Canada in November to challenge Adonis Stevenson for the WBC title. Bellew was stopped by ‘Superman’ in the sixth round, and says that his chastening experience in Quebec left him in no doubt that his quest for a third shot at World title honours had to come at 200lbs.
“I'd thought about moving to Cruiserweight tons of times but I've always had the attitude if it's not broke, don't fix it,” said Bellew. “Well, Adonis snapped it in half and I am putting the pieces back together. I knew on the Thursday of fight week. The day before I made 175lbs after training, I was in the hotel and had two breasts of boiled chicken and a bottle of water; I was five pounds heavier after that.
“That five pounds just wouldn't come off after that until the morning of the weigh-in and I trained three times after that. It was a torturous, horrible time, it's the worst experience I've had having to do the weight, but it's not the reason I lost the fight, it was the power in Adonis' gloves that did that, but I'm not a fool and I know it contributed to it somewhat.
“If I'd made the weight perfectly, I would still have been caught by that uppercut, he's got dynamite in his hands, by far the biggest puncher I've come across, even the punches he was landing to the body were sickening, so I don't blame the loss on making the weight but it was a contributing factor.
“At Cruiserweight, I don’t have to worry about my weight at all – I’m eating clean food and plenty of it, and I don’t have to fight the scales.”
Bellew’s clash with Brudov tops a great night of action in Liverpool, as popular Super Middleweight Rocky Fielding defends his Commonwealth title against former champion Charles Adamu.
Unbeaten Welterweight star Kell Brook faces Alvaro Robles in a ten-round clash, London Lightweight Kevin Mitchell will also be in action on Merseyside as he builds towards a big fight in the summer, exciting youngster Robbie Davies Jnr faces his fifth pro fight and Liverpool’s Neil Perkins continues his hunt for a first title shot against Londoner Erick Ochieng.
Paul Smith has been forced out of Saturday night’s action through injury along with brothers Stephen and Callum, after the British Super Middleweight champion was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with infected olecranon bursitis. A further bout will be added to the card within the next 24 hours.
Tickets are on sale priced £30, £40, £60 and ringside seats at £100 available from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and at www.echoarena.com