Tony Bellew earned some props for taking on Ilunga Makabu, one of the cruiserweight division’s best punchers, in his first bid for a 200-pound title. He earned even more by getting off the canvas to knock "Junior" out cold midway through the second.
I think I speak for all of us when I say I want my props back.
Rather than face mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis or Champion-in-Recess Grigory Drozd, the WBC titlist will take on BJ Flores on October 15th in Liverpool’s Echo Arena. Flores himself confirmed the matchup in an interview with The Ring and Boxrec lists the Smith brothers (minus Liam) and David Price as co-stars.
Flores (32-2-1, 20 KO), who fell short against Beibut Shumenov last year in a bid for the interim WBA title, is ranked thirty-seventh by Boxrec and twenty-sixth by the WBC. It’s not even like he’s the only option besides the two mentioned above; Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (ranked third by the WBC), Dmitry Kudryashov (fourth), Dmytro Kucher (sixth), Olanrewaju Durodola (seventh), Thabiso Mchunu (ninth), Murat Gassiev (twelfth), and others are all free. It’s a garbage fight.
Mauricio Suleiman tried to do some damage control on Twitter yesterday to little effect.
Not misteriously, it was a formal review of merits. Nobody can challenge he is deserving of top 15 spot https://t.co/RQKmpzU07i— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) August 5, 2016
Will explain when new rankings are published. was ranked in WBC many years was out because he fought for other title https://t.co/c9sURSEiix— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) August 5, 2016
What makes this so galling is the cruiserweight was supposed to be immune to this nonsense; no other division pits the best against the best as consistently. This year alone, it’s given us the likes of Yunier Dorticos vs. Youri Kalenga, Mairis Briedis vs. Olanrewaju Durodola, and Denis Lebedev vs. Victor Ramirez. Great fights like Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Oleksandr Usyk and Marco Huck vs. Ovill McKenzie are all set for later in 2016.
Bellew (27-2-1, 17 KO) appeared to be "with it," facing very solid opposition in Mateusz Masternak and the aforementioned Makabu, but there is no excuse for this.