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19 JUNE 2018

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Bellew Excites At Cruiserweight/Brook, Mitchell And Fielding Record Wins

Danny Winterbottom, ringside: Tony Bellew’s cruiserweight debut proved to be an exciting one as he dropped Russia’s grizzled Valery Brudov twice in rounds two and six, was almost stopped himself in round seven, before uncorking a lethal left hook to KO his man in the twelfth and final round to pick up the vacant WBO International cruiserweight title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.


Having lost world title challenges at light heavyweight to bitter rival Nathan Cleverly in 2011 and most recently suffering a stoppage defeat in a challenge for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC crown in Montreal, Bellew decided his long battle with the scales couldn’t continue and a move up in weight was necessary.


If the popular Scouser was to harbour any ambitions of world title glory at his new weight he would need to impress against 37-year-old Brudov, a short and stocky native of Pskov, Russia, who had lost to Firat Arslan, Guillermo Jones and Ola Afolabi in ‘world’ title attempts.


Bellew was greeted in enthusiastic style by the home crowd as the walk out tune of his beloved Everton, Z cars, blasted through the arena P.A system as he made his way to the ring donned all in blue.


And when the action started Bellew (14st 1lbs 8oz) utilised his longer reach to keep Brudov (13st 10lbs 6oz) off balance in the opening stanza as the older man tried to shuffle into range to land his crude blows.


Brudov brushed the chin of the Liverpudlian with a right hand in round two but Bellew remained calm and made good on his promise to trade more at his new weight as he fired straight back with a one two.


As the pair probed for openings in ring centre Bellew suddenly unleashed a blistering left followed by a quicksilver right that sent Brudov crashing heavily to the canvas. The shot landed with such devastating force it looked to be a fight ending punch but Brudov, showing heart and ambition despite only having two fights in the last two years, hauled himself upright at the count of five. Bellew took his time to find room for a finishing punch when the action resumed but the bell sounded to end the session.


Brudov showed his defiance in the third as he double jabbed Bellew to the ropes showing no signs of the heavy knock down he suffered just minutes earlier. Bellew fired back with a right hand that instigated an exchanging of blows in which both men swung wildly and could easily have shipped a fight ending punch either way.


A mouse began to redden under the left eye of Bellew in round four and Brudov suddenly became that bit harder to tag clean to the head. Bellew switched his attack downstairs with a left to the liver opening up room for a right cross to the head but still Brudov was unmoved.


Bellew began to use the ring as round five progressed, poking out his jab as Brudov, up on his toes, tried to close him down. Bellew was the fighter landing punches with class as demonstrated by a left to the body followed by a succession of right hands but everything the former British and commonwealth light heavyweight champion threw at Brudov he soaked up.


Finally after absorbing so many hard blows Brudov was visibly hurt by a Bellew left hook in round six. As the Russian backed to the ropes in search of sanctuary Bellew gave chase and as Brudov squared up another left followed by a right straight down the pipe dropped him to the canvas for the second time in the fight.


As Bellew tried to capitalise on this latest breakthrough the bell sounded to end the round.


The crowd of around 4,000 ‘Oooh’ed and Arrrgh’ed’ as Brudov swung and connected with a right hand but Bellew again fired back. Suddenly Bellew walked onto a heavy right as he tried to close the distance on Brudov and it was immediately apparent that he was badly shaken up.


Bellew tried to hold on for dear life but Brudov wrestled free from the clinch. The Russian then made a mistake of hitting Bellew low that gave the local favourite some time to recover as Brudov bizarrely held his hands aloft as if victorious with Bellew draped over the top rope in his corner gasping for breath.


The pair then traded some heavy blows until round 12 when Brudov over reached with a left and Bellew connected perfectly with a counter left hook of his own that had a devastating effect on Brudov who had soaked up incredible punishment throughout the contest.


The Russian bravely tried to regain his feet but to no avail as referee Phil Edwards waved the contest off at 2-24.


It was an exciting fight for the fans as Bellew proved he still possess a powerful punch at cruiserweight and fast hands but questions over his punch resistance at the top level remain as Brudov, with a touch more patience, could have spoiled the home coming party.


“When he went down for the second time I thought it was goodnight” Bellew told Sky Sports after the contest.


“But he got up and I thought, ‘Welcome to the cruiserweight division.”



Brudov takes a tumble in Liverpool
Brudov takes a tumble in Liverpool
Brooks lands a left hook
Brooks lands a left hook

Liverpool undercard

After losing his title on the scales when he failed to make 12st in defence of his commonwealth super middleweight title, Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding (12st 6lbs 11oz) coasted through a lacklustre 12 rounds to outpoint veteran campaigner Charles Adamu (11st 12lbs).


Judges Mike Alexander, Phil Edwards and Dave Parris were in agreement seeing the contest 120-108 for Fielding who now moves to 18-0 (10)


Fielding looked good blowing away Luke Blackledge in Manchester on the Froch-Groves undercard in November but here against a 36-year-old veteran he ran out of ideas from the end of the first round and the fight fell into a pattern from which it never recovered as the Oliver Harrison trained man was content to rack up round after round behind his jab but it made a poor spectacle for those in attendance.


“He’s a tough guy” Fielding said. “He’s been 12 rounds with Carl Froch and I knew he’d be there for me for the 12. I was happy I got the rounds.”


Kell Brook sharpened his tools on the face of Mexican tough guy Alvaro Robles before the visitors corner threw in the towel at 1-35 of round eight of a scheduled 10 made at 152lbs.


After the IBF issued a statement last week in which it outlined that its champion Shawn Porter will make a voluntary defence against Paulie Malignaggi in April but the winner must face Brook within 90 days, the Sheffield star can look forward to a world title fight this summer. Of course we have been here before…..


Robles, who calls himself the ‘Mexican Tyson’ was leagues below Brook in terms of skill but he did show incredible heart to withstand some withering blows from the unbeaten Sheffield man who moves to 32-0, the longest unbeaten run in British boxing.


Robles was docked a point in round four for low blows, which seemed harsh to say the least on the visitor, and Brook moved through the gears late in the contest as he landed some eye catching combinations.


It was becoming more and more one sided as referee John Latham allowed the action to continue into round eight. Both men picked up small cuts around their left eyes and as Brook rained down more heavy blows onto the head of Robles, the Mexican’s corner showed compassion for their man and launched the towel into the ring signalling the end.


“It’s hard to get motivated for this type of fight” said Brook after the contest.


“To get up at 6am to run and train every day for these fights is tough. I only want elite fighters from now on.”


Liverpool’s former amateur standout Neil Perkins (10st 12lbs 11oz) scored the win of his professional career to date as he outpointed former British title challenger Erik Ochieng (10st 11lbs 7oz) 78-76 on the card of referee John Latham over eight threes.


SecondsOut scored 80-72 for Perkins who scored a knockdown in round two and was in control throughout much of the contest as Ochieng failed to do much at all in the way of effective aggression as he slumped to his third consecutive defeat. In truth he was awful.


Perkins extends his unbeaten run to 6-0 but at 34 he will need to be moved quickly. For Ochieng, who is set to appear in an upcoming edition of Prizefighter, he is in danger of slipping off the radar as a viable opponent at championship level and needs to rediscover form quickly.


Earlier in the evening world ranked lightweight Kevin Mitchell had a ridiculously easy time of it against the hapless Mikheil Avakyan of Georgia.


From the off it was apparent that Mitchell, who is awaiting a shot at either Miguel Vasquez or Richard Abril later this year, could walk through any punches coming his way.


Mitchell sent Avakyan to the canvas off a straight left in the opening session and the horribly one sided beat down was over in round two as Mitchell dropped his opponent again with a right hand and referee Steve Gray had seen enough.


The end came at 2-07.


Any lightweight in Britain could have given Mitchell a sterner test than this and it was hardly ideal preparation for a crack at the elusive Vasquez.


“I was never in the gym last time I challenged for a world title” said Mitchell.


“This time I have had great sparring with Ricky, Luke Campbell and Martin J Ward and I am 100 percent ready for another world title shot.”


Unbeaten prospect Robbie Davies Jnr moved to 5-0 with a clear point’s victory over Mark McKray whilst Adam Ismail won over the distance against Duane Green.


John Ryder outscored George Kandelaki over six rounds and in the final bout of the evening Ryan Moorhead outpointed Ibar Riyaz over four threes

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