By Sean McDaniel: (27-2-1, 17 KOs) said he was going to shock the world tonight and that’s exactly what he did in coming out with some heavy artillery to stop the big punching #1 WBC Ilunga Makabu (19-2, 18 Kos) in the third round to win the vacant World Boxing Council cruiserweight in front of thousands of fans at a jammed pack Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, England. The fight was stopped at 1:20 of the third round.
Makabu got nailed by a right hand from Bellew in the third round that shifted his senses and sent him on the retreat to the ropes. Bellew chased after him and unloaded with a storm or power shots that resulted in Makabu going down. The last three jackhammer right hands that Bellew hit Makabu with were after he was out cold and leaning helplessly against the ropes.
Bellew was knocked down in the 1st round from a left hand to the head.
The win for Bellew gives him the vacant WBC cruiserwieght title. Bellew immediately started talking about wanting to fight IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev in a unification match. It might be Bellew’s best chance to dodge a potentially difficult mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis, who recently defeated Olanrewaja Durodola in a WBC title eliminator earlier this month to become the WBC mandatory challenger.
Bellew will need to face Briedis next unless he can fight Lebedev or one of the other cruiserweight champions in a unification fight. Since there’s no easy marks for Bellew to fight in unification fights, he and his promoter Eddie Hearn will be taking a risk in choosing to go this patch. The fact that they’re always showing interested in facing Lebedev next suggests that they believe this to be a winnable fight for them. If they didn’t, then surely they would go in another direction towards facing Briedis.