Bellew vs Makabu was an exciting encounter at Liverpool’s Goodison Park. Tony Bellew emerged as a legitimate Cruiserweight threat after he broke down and stopped dangerous puncher Ilunga Makabu in the 3rd round, picking up the vacant WBC title in the process. Bellew now improves to 27 wins, 2 defeats, 1 draw, 17 knockouts, while Makabu reduces to 19 wins, 1 defeat, 1 draw, 18 knockouts.
Bellew boxed well in the opening stanza, but Makabu made his intentions very clear when he knocked down Bellew with a rocket left hand in the closing seconds. Bellew wasn’t significantly hurt, but it was an alarming sign that Makabu, one of the division’s most devastating punchers, could change the momentum of this fight with a single blow. Bellew entered the 2nd round with caution, but it wasn’t long before the Liverpudlian started taking risks once again and unleashing some telling blows on his South African-based visitor.
Bellew continued to bring the fight to Makabu in the 3rd, keeping his offense economical while throwing just enough caution to the wind to make sure he was the man doing the far greater damage. Bellew soon had Makabu in trouble on the ropes, firing full-blooded straight shots that eventually began finding the target behind Makabu’s clamshell defense. With Makabu unwilling to trade punches, Bellew was happy to keep throwing until eventually a clean left hand to the jaw had Makabu sagging on the ropes and out on his feet. At that point the referee rightly stepped in to halt the beatdown.
Bellew deserves a lot of praise for this performance, and, for what he’s achieved so far in his six-fight Cruiserweight campaign since jumping up from Light Heavyweight back in March 2014. Bellew put in a strong performance against solid contender Mateusz Masternak last December, and now with a dynamite win over Makabu, who was ranked at No.6 in our Cruiserweight Top 10, Bellew is firmly on the world scene. The fact this victory came inside three rounds will have sent some significant tremors through the boxing world.
As for Makabu, a crushing defeat such as this will obviously call for a rebuild. But he had his moments in this battle, without doubt, and still has time to work back towards another title shot in the near future. The only thing Makabu was lacking going into this fight was experience against a top-level operator. Bellew was that guy tonight, and it just so happens he had too much for Makabu. When it’s all said and done, both boxers came out firing and made this a thrilling world title encounter, so that’s a win for boxing, and a win for the fans.
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