Tony Bellew has moved up to cruiserweight, where he says he will win a world title
Cruiserweight is a new chapter in Tony Bellew's career but will bring him back to his best, he says.
Last Updated: 05/03/14 4:21pm
Britiain's newest cruiserweight has left the light-heavyweight division behind following last year's loss to Adonis Stevenson, meaning his two world title challenges have fallen short.
Bellew insists he would have moved up into the higher division soon even had he had become the WBC world champion, simply because making the 175lbs weight-limit had taken over his preparation and by his own admission, hardly helped him improve technically, fight-by-fight.
The step up, which kicks off live on Sky Sports on March 15, gives him an extra 25lbs to play with. And although he will be in with much bigger opponents, the 31-year-old stands at 6ft 3in and believes the brave new world will see him revert to the knockout style that earned the nickname 'The Bomber'.
"You are going to see the old me, without a doubt!" he said. "I'm happy to trade at this weight because I'll have no vulnerability factor about me anymore.
"The main thing I have been working on is the technical side of my game, defence and of course taking people apart, stuff like that.
"Before it was always all geared towards losing weight through camp and even though you are boxing training, in the back of your mind you're fighting the scales.
"I have learned from the mistakes I've made and I have made them at the very highest level. Don't forget I haven't had 40 fights, I've had 23 fights and I've fought for two world titles.
"I'll probably be the favourite with some of the champions, simply because I am not going to come across anyone who's as good as Adonis Stevenson in this division."
That alone has Bellew believing he will make it third time lucky and win a world title.
His first crack saw him outclassed by WBO champion Nathan Cleverly back in 2011 and after rebuilding and aiming for what he considered the blue riband world belt, he was blown away by WBC king Stevenson in Canada before Christmas.
A quick look down the cruiserweight rankings suggests it might be easier to win that elusive title not only because he will be better, but simply because of who he will be up against.
Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (WBC), Denis Lebedev (WBA), Yoan Hernandez (IBF) and Marco Huck (WBO) do not spread fear through Bellew's plans. And even if the move up will bring the best out of him again, the romance that took him down the WBC route, has already been replaced by a dose of realism.
"I don't see any point in mixing with domestic fighters, no point at all," he said.
"There's nothing to be gained from me going for the British title; I have been British champion, albeit at light-heavyweight, but I have won it and defended it.
"There's nothing for me to gain. I'm 31, I'm not getting any younger and winning the British title is not my dream. Winning a world title is."
Bellew will take on Russia's Valery Brudov at the Echo Arena on March 15 as the local Smith lads, Paul, Stephen and Callum make it a real Liverpool feel to quite literally, his biggest fight so far.
His opponent has recently lost to Ola Afolabi and like the local 'home fighter' has also seen two world titles fail, first against Virgil Hill (2006) and Guillermo Jones (2010).
He has also stopped 28 of his 41 victims but rarely fights over 12 rounds. Still, as if avoiding another domestic rival wasn't enough to whet his appetite, the experience and pedigree of Brudov is just what Bellew wanted.
And the future has already brought a bit of the past flooding back.
"The plan is to fight a world-ranked guy, who has maybe fought for world titles or done well against a guy who has done well with a champion," he said.
"I don't want to be given a knock-over. I am adamant I don't want an easy fight, someone who I will just walk through. I want to make sure I get the credit when I knock someone out because I just believe knock-outs are coming again at this weight.
"I haven't had spitefulness and nastiness in me for quite a while now and I think you will see it at cruiserweight again."
Will we see that again, the Bomber of old? It seems so.
But will we see it against Cleverly again, who has also been linked with moving up - as well as teaming up with trainer Adam Booth? Not according to the man who matters.
"I don't believe for one minute he is going to move up to cruiserweight," he said.
"I think it's all a ploy or a plot; it's just ridiculous. He doesn't need to do cruiserweight - the guy could do super-middleweight.
"I'm 6ft 3in and I just couldn't do the weight anymore and that's the top and bottom of it. As for the other lad he can do what he wants. Whatever he says or does now doesn't bother me in the slightest."