Liverpool's Tony Bellew says he is on the cusp of a WBC light-heavyweight title shot
Tony Bellew says he is on the cusp of a World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title shot if he can beat Isaac Chilemba.
Last Updated: 09/01/13 5:07pm
The 30-year-old Liverpudlian will face the Malawian at the Echo Arena in his home city in a showdown for the right to challenge WBC champion Chad Dawson.
Bellew's only professional loss was a close points defeat in an arguably premature challenge against WBO champion Nathan Cleverly in 2011.
The fiery Scouser has been able to rebuild his reputation admirably since then but must overcome 25-year-old Chilemba (20-1-1, 9KOs) before getting his shot at Dawson.
"I'm really close to a world title shot now and we're within touching distance of it," said 'Bomber' Bellew.
"You don't fight final eliminators against guys at this level if you're not any good, so it's a big test but one I think I can come through.
"This is the biggest test of my career and I really believe Isaac Chilemba is the most complete fighter I've fought. He's got good defence, good speed, reasonable power, good footwork.
"He's got a whole lot of skills. He's shown he can get up off the floor and win, he's shown he can beat good fighters such as Edison Miranda and he's drawn with Thomas Oosthuizen.
"He's a good fighter and nobody gets an easy touch for a world title final eliminator. But if he's not at his best, I'll blow him away."
"I've done it the hard way by beating good guys who are ranked above me. It's now time to go out there and prove myself, and I believe I'll do that."