Tony Bellew knocks out Ilunga Makabu to win WBC world cruiserweight title at Goodison Park
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 30/05/16 9:15am
Tony Bellew overcame a first-round knock-down to deliver a thunderous knockout of Ilunga Makabu and become WBC world cruiserweight champion at Goodison Park.
The Liverpool fighter sunk to his knees having claimed the vacant title to delight a home crowd in scenes reminiscent of the Hollywood movie Creed, in which Bellew starred.
Everton fan Bellew found himself on the floor at the end of the opening round but never seemed hurt, and went for broke in the third period with a barrage of left hooks that eventually sent Makabu crashing to the canvas.
Bellew had found early success by backing Makabu to the ropes, scoring right hands through his opponent's guard and digging in uppercuts that shook the African.
But when Bellew took a step back his feet stopped moving for the first time and Makabu, who had offered virtually nothing in the opening three minutes, sent him tumbling backwards with a straight left down the pipe.
Bellew's nose was bloodied but his legs were always sturdy - in the second round he backed Makabu up again but wouldn't risk making the same error that previously cost him.
But when Bellew scored a hurtful left hook in the third round, he was urged on by the crowd to roll the dice and duly obliged. Stepping into the pocket, Bellew swung straight rights and left hooks that did visible damage - eventually causing a brutal finish as Makabu flopped into the ropes.
Bellew's first world title came at his third opportunity - he had previous lost two light-heavyweight title bouts to Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson. Makabu hadn't lost in 19 fights since his pro debut and arrived with a reputation as a dangerous puncher.