Tony Bellew will face Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba in an official final eliminator for the WBC light heavyweight World title in Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on March 30, live on Sky Sports – with the winner setting up a potential clash with ‘Bad’ Chad Dawson.
The fight is the last step to a second World title shot for ‘Bomber’ Bellew, who moved through the gears in 2012 with a devastating KO over Danny McIntosh in a British title defence in April, a ninth round stoppage win over Edison Miranda in September and dug deep through a terrible cut against Roberto Bolonti in November to reach this pivotal point in his career.
Malawian Chilemba is ranked at number five in the WBC and also defeated Miranda in 2012, one of the 25 year olds 20 wins in his 22 fight career – as tough a test as Bellew could face as he stands on the cusp of World title glory.
“It’s a massive night and a really tough opponent for the right to fight for the big one,” said Bellew. “Isaac is a top class opponent; he beat Miranda at late notice and has only one defeat on his record from five years ago, so he’ll be well up for this and he’s in good form.
“But I’m on the edge of a World title fight and I’ve worked too hard to give it away now. It’s a great card on show for the Liverpool fans and I am sure they will turn out in force on March 30.”
A rematch of the domestic fight of the year for 2012 between Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla for the Commonwealth lightweight title provides the chief support to Bellew’s crunch clash with Chilemba, with Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding defending his English super middleweight title against Wayne Reed, unbeaten lightweight Scotty Cardle in action in his ninth pro contest, Callum Smith boxes in his hometown for the first time and GB London Olympic captain Tom Stalker will appear after he announced he will turn pro will Matchroom Sport.
“I cannot wait for this show – it’s going to be a great night of boxing in Liverpool,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “It’s a crucial night for Tony, with a win securing a well-earned second World title shot and he has great momentum coming into the fight after performing well in 2012. Isaac is a tough customer though and Tony will have to be at his best to get the win.
“I’m thrilled that the rematch between Derry and Anthony is on the bill. The first fight was a real barnstormer and with the Commonwealth title up for grabs and some really big fights in the lightweight division out there this year, the rematch could be even more explosive.
“I will be stepping up Scotty Cardle this year after his successful transition to the pro ranks in 2012 and that starts in Liverpool. Callum Smith boxes at home for the first time in his third pro bout as his pro career starts in earnest – and having Tom Stalker join our stable is a real coup and I expect him to progress very quickly in the pro ranks. All in all, it’s a fantastic line-up and a great chance for the brilliant fight fans in Liverpool to back their number one star on to glory.”
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ are on sale from 2pm today (January 9) priced £30, £40 and £60 from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and www.echoarena.com – £100 ringside and £150 VIP tickets are available from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com