Today at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, Tony Bellew headlines at Liverpool's Goodison Park, home of Everton F.C., facing Junior Makabu for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title.
Bellew (26-2-1, 16 KO) is taking his third crack at a world title, having previously lost at 175 to Nathan Cleverly, and later to Adonis Stevenson in Bellew's last fight as a light heavyweight in 2013. Since then, he's gone 6-0 (4 KO) as a cruiserweight, and has fought himself into this position. But even with home field advantage on a card built around him, this is no gimme -- Makabu (19-1, 18 KO) is a powerful puncher, dangerous for all 12 rounds, and coming off of a rally knockout of Thabiso Mchunu last May. He's been out of the ring for a year, so that could be a factor, too.
The undercard is filled with local favorites in largely showcase fights on the big stage. Three of the Smith brothers -- Callum, Stephen, and Paul -- are in action, with Stephen's fight for a WBC ranking at 130 pounds against Daniel Brizuela the most notable of those. David Price, Hosea Burton, and Sean Dodd are also in action, and prospects Kofi Yates and Tom Farrell meet in perhaps the most evenly-matched undercard bout.
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Tony Bellew def. Junior Makabu by TKO (1:20 of round 3)
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ROUND BY ROUND
TONY BELLEW vs JUNIOR MAKABU
Round 1: Big crowd, big atmosphere, let's do it. Fairly slow start, then Makabu stands himself against the ropes and allows Bellew to throw some heavy shots, then Makabu SPRINGS OUT OF THE CORNER AND DROPS BELLEW WITH A LEFT! Wow! That turned fast! Makabu 10-8
Round 2: Bellew has a slight nose bleed to start the second round. Makabu trying to bait Bellew again here, just waiting on him to give an opening. Bellew patiently working here, not taking risks, and Makabu starts to come forward just a little more. Someone does have to do something. Bellew with a good body shot. Bellew 10-9, Makabu 19-18
Round 3: Bellew turning up the heat and throwing bombs to start the third, Makabu gets away, then blocks on the ropes. Good hook from Bellew, though. But he's really taking chances. Makabu is hurt! Bellew throwing bombs with Makabu on the ropes and he's hurt and HE IS DONE! TONY BELLEW DOES IT! Bellew TKO-3