Blogs & Opinion


Tony Bellew backed to beat Isaac Chilemba by Jim Watt

Jim Watt Posted 27th March 2013 view comments

Tony Bellew is determined to become a big attraction but there are plenty of nights to be exciting - Saturday's WBC world title eliminator with Isaac Chilemba is all about the result.

It's a huge fight for Bellew and a great opportunity with the bout taking place in his hometown.

Victory would hand him a mandatory shot at champion Chad Dawson and put him in a strong position to negotiate terms - but, make no mistake, he's got a tough task on his hands against Chilemba first.

Bellew: Faces a tough test on Saturday night

Bellew: Faces a tough test on Saturday night

Bellew has described Chilemba as his toughest test to date and if he truly rates his opponent above Nathan Cleverly then that's saying something.

Chilemba brings a lot of different things to the ring: he's not just a slugger but also a good boxer, a good technician; he's tall and can box at long range; and he can also mix things up.

Bellew showed in his last fight how well he can keep his discipline and box to instruction - and he may need to do that again on Saturday.

Jim Watt
Quotes of the week

Bellew v Chilemba

9pm, Fri, Sky Sports 1 HD

Buddy McGirt is training him for this fight and if you're a good boxer technically - as Chilemba is - then that's the type of fighter the former two-weight world champion can add a lot to.

Discipline

So Bellew is going to have to find a way to overcome those factors. He showed in his last fight, when he was badly cut early on against Roberto Bolonti and boxed superbly at range to win comfortably on points, how well he can keep his discipline and box to instruction - and he may need to do that again on Saturday.

There's always a concern in your first fight back after a bad cut, such as the one Bellew sustained in November, and it will be in the back of his mind this weekend. As a result I'd expect Bellew to take his time in the early rounds, box at long range and try to get a few rounds in the bank.

Eventually the fight is going to become tough work and that's when boxing at home will fall in Bellew's favour. Chilemba's camp have said it's a disadvantage because the pressure is on Bellew to deliver, but deep into the fight, when the crowd are cheering everything he does, the crowd will drag the best out of Bellew - and I think it could help him get the result if it's a tight contest.

I wouldn't like to put my house on either fighter to win - it's a great match-up - but I feel Bellew will just prevail on points and earn that coveted world title shot.

The last time Bellew fought for a world title, against Cleverly in 2011, he really talked himself into the contest. David Copperfield would have been proud of the way Bellew conjured that up! His form before the Cleverly fight was terrible and a shot at the world title was the last thing he deserved.

But this is an entirely different situation. Bellew's been winning since that fight and has looked good - although perhaps not as good as he'd like - and fight by fight he's been getting in the right position.

Whether he's ready to take the world title is another question - the champion isn't bad - but he has a great opportunity and he needs to take it with both hands this weekend.

back to top

Other Boxing Experts:

Latest Posts in Boxing:

Johnny Nelson

Is Tyson still furious?

Tyson Fury has at least got a fight on Saturday, but will he be fully focused? Johnny Nelson hopes so......

Latest News RSS feeds

Fury confirms Ustinov fight

Tyson Fury will face Alexander Ustinov on Saturday after original opponent Dereck Chisora pulled out with a hand injury.

Chisora out of Fury fight

Dereck Chisora has been forced to withdraw from Saturday's fight with Tyson Fury in Manchester.

Sky Sports News HQ is coming

Sky Sports News will relaunch on channel 401 as Sky Sports News HQ from August 12.

Macklin lands WBC eliminator

Matthew Macklin faces Jorge Sebastien Heiland in Dublin in August in a final eliminator for the WBC middleweight title.

Fury unfazed by board's charge

Tyson Fury insisted he was not concerned by a misconduct charge before injury forced Dereck Chisora's withdrawal.

Features

Ringside Toe 2 Toe

Ringside Toe 2 Toe

Welcome to the Ringside Toe 2 Toe podcast, an online offering from skysports.com bringing you the latest news and views from the world of boxing.

Second Shout - 12th July

Second Shout - 12th July

Paul Smith and Ed Robinson discuss the results and reaction to a big night of boxing in Liverpool.

Cleverly the bookmakers favourite as rematch with Bellew nears

Cleverly the bookmakers favourite as rematch with Bellew nears

Online bookmaker Sky Bet have made Nathan Cleverly the odds-on favourite to win his highly anticipated rematch with Tony Bellew.