Tony Bellew Vs Ilunga Makabu – Fight Report
Jordan Seward reports ringside at Goodison Park
Tony Bellew (27-2-1)17ko turned his dream into a reality by knocking out Ilunga Makabu (19-2)18ko in three rounds to capture the WBC World Cruiserweight title.
After two failed attempts at a world title it was third time lucky for the Everton man, but it could have been all so different. The Bomber had to rise off the canvas like a true champ, Rocky Balboa esque if it were, after a heavy knockdown in the first round.
As Everton FC echoed around the ground the two engaged, sizing each other up. Bellew marched onto the front foot with the fans urging him on. The 33-year-old was noticeably the bigger man and had Makabu tied up on the ropes early on in the first, switching from upstairs to down at will. Then, the noise came to a sudden halt. The man from the Democratic Republic of Congo silenced the arena as he landed one single left, flush on the chin which sent Bellew rolling over. The home crowd were stunned, but their man dragged himself up off the deck to beat the eight count.
Bellew came into the second round tentative, even a jab seemed to wobble his legs. As the round went on he came into it more, edging forward and had Makabu on the ropes again landing right hooks to the head and lefts to the body. In the third round the Bomber showed his own power, backing Makabu up with a left hook. He had his man on the ropes and was patient, picking each shot carefully.
Makabu was well out of his comfort zone and looked like a sitting duck, but replied with a solid looking left of his own. The 33-year-old walked through it and landed a left to the body sending his opponent back to the ropes again. The initial left hook had rocked him. An uppercut, a chopping left and a couple of right hooks later, Makabu was out cold. Only the ropes held up his sagging body as the referee waved it off.
Tony Bellew sank to his knees in celebration, he done it, a world title in his home city. It wasn’t quite the script he had planned for sure, it was more like a Sylvester Stallone one in truth, but nonetheless the result was the same. The win ended Makabu’s 19 fight win run and is Bellew’s seventh win out of seven fights since moving up to Cruiserweight.
After the fight the new WBC World Champion said “This was a terrible camp, I had no idea how I was going to beat Makabu. But there is not a man on this planet that want’s it more than me and I scare myself, the lengths I’m willing to go, I was willing to die tonight. There was no way I was losing at Goodison Park; my career would have been over.
“When I went down I wasn’t hurt, but he broke my nose immediately and he punches like a truck believe me, but there is so much punishment I can take and give at Cruiserweight. Losing was not an option, it didn’t go according to plan but everything I have ever dreamed of came true and I cannot believe it. I am the best Cruiserweight in the world and now I want Denis Lebedev and I want to unify the division before the end of the year”.