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:

Latest News RSS feeds

Coyle promises Katsidis classic

Tommy Coyle told Toe 2 Toe that he and Michael Katsidis will produce a "cracking" fight when they meet in Hull on Saturday.

Tough transition for Campbell

Luke Campbell admits adapting to life as a professional has been tough as he prepares to face Daniel Brizuela.

Mitchell: Kat could KO Coyle

Kevin Mitchell fears that Tommy Coyle will be knocked out if he tries to stand and trade with Michael Katsidis.

Boxer attacks referee

A Croatian boxer has been banned for life after attacking the referee during the European Youth Boxing Championships.

Khan set for Alexander clash

Amir Khan will face former world champion Devon Alexander in December, according to reports.

Features

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports take a look at the winners and losers from the past seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports take a look at the winners and losers from the past seven days

Another week has passed in the world of sport and, yet again, heroes and villains have been made. From the enthroned to dethroned, Sky Sports pass judgement on the unadulterated highs and soul-destroying lows.

Hull rivals Luke Campbell and Tommy Coyle try to out-do each other on Live Fight Night

Hull rivals Luke Campbell and Tommy Coyle try to out-do each other on Live Fight Night

Live Fight Night is back with another Hull of a night’s action coming your way.

Kid Galahad aiming for the top

Kid Galahad aiming for the top

Barry ‘Kid Galahad’ Awad is the latest fighter from the Ingle Gym to win the Boxing Writers young boxer of the year and he is aiming to be the most successful fighter from the famous gym.