Light heavyweight Tony Bellew is moving toward a shot at WBC world titleholder Chad Dawson, and tomorrow's fight with Isaac Chilemba could put him right in line to face the titlist later in 2013.
Dawson will defend his title against Adonis Stevenson in Montreal on June 8, while Bellew (19-1, 12 KO) is facing a fellow top ten sort of world contender in Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KO) tomorrow in Liverpool. The 30-year-old Bellew says he's champing at the bit to get in there and do the job:
"I am so close to that World title that I am ready to go into the trenches," said Bellew. "I know that at some point in this fight I am going to have to go to the wall. I already know what it takes to go there - he doesn't. I don't think he contemplates how hard this fight is going to be.
"Everyone has a game plan until they get in with me. People say ‘Tony Bellew looks slow, he doesn't do this or that right', but when they get hit, their game plan changes.
"Every fight I'm in from now is a must-win fight. I'm number one with the WBC now and I've worked hard to get to that position, so I'm nearly where I want to be and I cannot afford to slip up against Isaac. It's not just the pressure I put on myself that's on the line, the shot at Chad Dawson is the ultimate goal but I've got a family of three to feed and I've got to win, I have to, and whichever way I have to do it I will do.
"I'm going to hurt him, it's as simple as that - I'm bringing him pain. He knows he cannot come to Liverpool and run and try to steal a decision, he has to come here and fight and he's going to have to do that in front of 10,000 Scousers going crazy, they've never seen nothing like he will tonight, it's going to erupt and they'll be baying for his blood and I'm going to give it to them."
Dave Oakes previewed Bellew-Chilemba for us this week, and we'll have live coverage tomorrow afternoon. The fight airs on WealthTV in the States, and Sky Sports in the UK.