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Tony Bellew vs. Ilunga Makabu on 5/29 at Goodison Park

bellew576By Scott Gilfoid: Former two-time world title challenger Tony Bellew (26-2-1, 16 KOs) will be facing Ilunga Makabu (19-1, 18 KOs) on May 29 for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title at Goodison Park Stadium, Liverpool, UK.

The fight is now official. Bellew and his promoters at Matchroom Sport were pushing for the fight to get staged at Goodison Park, and now they’ve gotten their way. It’s up to Bellew now to see if he can take advantage of having the fight staged in his own hometown or not.

Unless the fight goes to the cards, I can’t see how it will help the 33-year-old Bellew at all. I can definitely see it working against him if he tries to get too brave and start trading with the big punching southpaw Makabu.

Bellew revealed the news on his Twitter in saying the fight with Makabu is now good to go for Goodsion Park.


Makabu was previously scheduled to fight former WBC cruiserweight champion Grigory Drozd, but he suffered two injuries that twice wiped out fights against Makabu. Finally, the World Boxing Council stripped Drozd of his WBC title and made him “Champion in Recess,” which means he’ll be able to fight the winner of the Bellew vs. Makabu fight at some point if he can make it through his training camps without continuing to break down physically with injuries left and right.

In the past, Bellew fought world titles at 175, but was whipped by WBC champion Adonis Stevenson and WBO champ Nathan Cleverly.

Bellew moved up in weight after being thrashed by Stevenson in 2013, but he’s still not fought anyone good after two years in the weight class. Bellew has been matched very, very carefully by his promoter Hearns.

Bellew has maneuvered around the cruiserweight division without fighting the cream of the division against guys like this: Krzysztof Glowacki, Marco Huck, Krzystof Wlodarczyk, Rakhim Chakhkiev, Dmitry Kudryashov, Olesandr Usyk and Beibut Shumenov. Instead of fighting the best, we’ve seen Bellew matched against these guys: Mateusz Masternak, Arturs Kulikauskis, Ivica Bacurin, Cleverly, Julio Cesar Dos Santos and Varlery Brudov. In Bellew’s last fight, he really had to battle hard to beat Masternak, a fighter that should have been an easy win for Bellew but almost beat him last December.

Makabu looked sensational in his last fight in knocking out Thabiso Mchunu in the 11th round last May. Makabu was trailing in the fight in the 11th round when he nailed Mchubu to get the stoppage win.

It’s going to be a major victory for Bellew if he can even go 12 rounds with Makbu. I’m not expecting Bellew to win the fight, but if he can make it the full 12 round distance, it would be a big deal. Hopefully if it does go the distance, we don’t see a controversial decision because that would be very disappointing.

Makabu is taking a real risk in agreeing to fight Bellew in his own hometown because it could go badly for him if the fight goes to the cards. I’m just saying. Of course, Makabu must feel that with his punching power, there’s little chance that the judges will play any part in the outcome of this fight.

If Bellew makes it the full 12 round distance, he’ll join Dmytro Kucher as the only fighter to ever go the full 12 rounds with the powerful hitting Makabu.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Bellew moves back down to the 175lb division if/when he loses to Makabu on May 29. I can’t imagine Bellew wanting to stay at cruiserweight if he gets flattened real bad by Makabu because I don’t think he belongs in this weight class.


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