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On this day 2016: Tony Bellew becomes WBC world cruiserweight champion

Bellew won the title at Goodison Park four years ago.

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Tony Bellew celebrates beating Ilunga Makabu in the WBC Cruiserweight World Championship in 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tony Bellew celebrates beating Ilunga Makabu in the WBC Cruiserweight World Championship in 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tony Bellew celebrates beating Ilunga Makabu in the WBC Cruiserweight World Championship in 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)

On May 29, 2016 Tony Bellew won the vacant WBC world cruiserweight title with a third-round knockout of Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at that fight.

‘My worst nightmare’

Bellew got the chance to fight for the WBC world cruiserweight title after reigning champion Grigory Drozd vacated the belt due to injury. The Liverpudlian was not overly keen on facing the Congolese fighter, describing him as his “worst nightmare”. A southpaw, with a big punch, Makabu had the ability to cause Bellew problems. The British fighter had home advantage on his side, though, with the bout staged at Everton’s Goodison Park stadium. Bellew is a devoted Everton fan, making it a special night for him.

Picking himself up

Bellew, left, overcame an early knockdown to beat Makabu
Bellew, left, overcame an early knockdown to beat Makabu (Martin Rickett/PA)


What happened next?

After a routine defence against BJ Flores, Bellew stepped up to heavyweight to settle his rivalry with David Haye. Bellew beat a heavily impaired Haye with an 11th-round knockout. The pair had a lucrative rematch, which Bellew again won with a convincing display. He returned to cruiserweight to take on undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk, but lost and subsequently retired.

PA