Adonis Stevenson dares Tony Bellew to fight him in UK
By Scott Gilfoid: Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson is daring Tony Bellew to fight him to try and avenge his 6th round knockout loss from 2013, and he says he’ll even come to the UK to fight him. The 40-year-old Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) is willing to give Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) home country advantage by fighting him in the UK on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder.
Bellew, 34, is coming off of his second consecutive knockout win over David Haye, and he says he wants a mega-fight against a star. The names that Bellew has mentioned, Andre Ward, Tyson Fury, Oleksander Usyk and Murat Gassiev, are all currently busy with their careers, and not available for him to fight.
Stevenson has a title defense this month against former two division world champion Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) on May 19 at the Air Canada Centre, in Toronto, Canada. If Stevenson wins that fight, he’ll be more than happy to come to the UK to give Bellew the rematch that he should have been asking for all these years. Stevenson doesn’t understand why Bellew hasn’t even attempted to avenge his loss.
Stevenson points out that when he was knocked out in the 2nd round by Darnell Boone in April 2010, he came back and fought three years later and stopped him in the 3rd round in March 2013.
“Tony Bellew needs to get a rematch,” Stevenson said to skysports.com. “You have to fight again the guy who knocked you out, except me! If I fight Bellew again, I am going to knock him out again. I will come and do it again. Eddie Hearn has got our number, so he can negotiate with Al (Haymon),” Stevenson said.
This fight is probably not ever going to happen. Bellew wants a fight that he can sell to the UK fans on PPV, and he obviously would likely to have a good chance of winning. Stevenson is not a big name in the UK, despite the fact that he’s been a world champion for five years running since 2013, and is considered to be one of the best fighters in the 175 lb. weight class. It’s not enough that Stevenson utterly smashed Bellew in 6 rounds in 2013.
A rematch between probably won’t sell, and it would figure to have a bad ending for ‘The Bomber.’ Bellew can make more money if he sits on the sidelines and waits for a year for Tyson Fury to eventually fight him. That fight probably won’t happen in 2018 though, as Fury wants to get 4 or 5 easy tune-up fights out of the way before he starts fighting world class competition. If Bellew is willing to sit and wait for Fury to fight him in 2019, then it’s a doable fight. If Bellew gets brave and tries to avenge his loss to Stevenson, I can’t see it going well for him.
Stevenson says he’ll fight Bellew at a catch-weight. He’s not saying what that weight will be though. Bellew weighed 210 lbs. for his rematch with Haye last Saturday night. Bellew coming in at that weight suggests that the catch-weight would need to be 200 lbs. for the Stevenson-Bellew fight to take place. Bellew obviously would be fighting Andre Ward at cruiserweight if the American were interested in the fight, so he shouldn’t have any issues with fighting Stevenson at cruiserweight as well.
It’s very doubtful that Bellew will take Stevenson up on his offer to fight him. If this was a fight that Bellew fancies, he would have been calling Stevenson out night and day for the past 5 years, asking for the rematch and telling the British boxing public that he absolutely has to fight him. Instead, Bellew has been quiet about wanting to fight Stevenson a second time.
Bellew’s excuse for losing to Stevenson in 2013 was that he was dead at the weight from having drained down to make the 175 lb. weight limit for the fight. Bellew moved up to cruiserweight after the loss to Stevenson, and reeled off eight consecutive wins and captured the vacant WBC title in beating Illunga Makabu by a 3rd round knockout on May 29, 2016. Bellew talked up his accomplishment, making Makabu sound like he was better than he actually was.
Instead of Bellew pointing out that the World Boxing Council had gotten it wrong by ranking a vulnerable fighter like Makabu above the talented Mairis Briedis, he then claimed that he was the best fighter in the cruiserweight division. That was hard to believe given that the division was well stocked with talented fighters, like Briedis, Oleksandr Usyk, Yunier Dorticos, Murat Gassiev, and Krzystof Glowacki. The boxing fans were hoping that Bellew would prove himself as the best cruiserweight by taking on those fighters. Instead of doing that, Bellew picked out No.14 WBC ranked BJ Flores to defend his WBC cruiserweight title against in October 2016 and knocked him out in the 3rd round. For some reason, Bellew bypassed the No.1 ranked Briedis in order to fight No.14 BJ Flores. After that, Bellew moved up to heavyweight and fought past his prime David Haye. It looked to a lot of boxing fans that Bellew fled the cruiserweight division to avoid having to fight Briedis, Dorticos, Gassiev, Glowacki and Usyk and potentially get exposed.
Bellew wants the 34-year-old Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) to come out of his 1-year retirement to fight him. I don’t know if it’s going to happen though unless Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn makes a big offer to Ward to get him to take the fight, because right now, he’s busy with his movie career. With Hearn’s new $1 billion streaming deal with DAZN, he should be able to put together a big enough offer to get Ward to agree to fight Bellew. The question is will that fight interest American boxing fans to want to pay to see that fight? I’d say it’s unlikely. However, Hearn can still sell the Bellew vs. Ward fight on Sky Box Office PPV and make some money that way, as long as the British boxing fans are excited about seeing that fight. I don’t know if the casual fans will be too eager to see that fight. Ward has never fought in the UK before. He mainly fights in Oakland, California. Hearn and Bellew would be counting on the hardcore boxing fans wanting to see Bellew fight the retired Ward in high number. I don’t think they will.