Tony Bellew will face Edison Miranda on September 8 at Alexandra Place in London, with Darren Barker topping the bill against Simone Rotolo.
Bellew is still somewhere between deals with Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn in a way, as he'll be in the ring on a one-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing for this bout. Warren believes he still has a valid contract with Bellew, but the BBBofC will hear those arguments in August.
Bellew (17-1, 11 KO) gained a solid measure of respect when he gave Nathan Cleverly a much harder test than anticipated in October of last year, and returned this April with an easy win over Danny McIntosh. Once regarded as a fairly one-dimensional and predictable fighter, the 29-year-old Liverpudlian has made some strides in the ring, and has become an interesting name in the 175-pound division.
Miranda (35-7, 30 KO) will tell us exactly where he's at. Miranda isn't a contender anymore, and really doesn't have a whole lot in the light heavyweight division, but he is consistent and always does what he's capable of doing. If Bellew is even possibly able to legitimately contend at 175, he'll beat Miranda. If he's not, he could lose the fight. It'll be a decent way to gauge exactly where Bellew is going forward.
The power-punching Colombian has a pretty set pattern since his controversial loss to Arthur Abraham in 2006, going 9-7 since then. He's beaten Willie Gibbs, Allan Green, Henry Porras, David Banks, Manuel Esparza, Joey Vegas, Francisco Sierra, Rayco Saunders, and Kariz Kariuki, the best of that bunch probably being Green, and the rest ranging from non-factors to mediocre. He has lost to Abraham, Kelly Pavlik, Abraham again, Andre Ward, Lucian Bute, Yordanis Despaigne (a DQ), and Isaac Chilemba, all pretty good fighters at worst, top of their weight class at the time at best.
Barker (23-1, 14 KO) is returning to familiar levels of competition against Rotolo (34-3, 15 KO), a 36-year-old Italian not much different from past Barker opponents Domenico Spada and Affif Belghecham, both of whom tested Barker's stamina, and made that an open question about the London middleweight.
Hearn is double-talking the fight a bit while trying to hype it, noting that it's not a "barnstromer" or a great fight, but "competitive." It may be competitive, as Barker hasn't bowled over similar fighters in the past, and also hasn't fought since October, when he lost to Sergio Martinez.