Tony Bellew is known as “The Bomber”. A moniker given to him based on destructive punching power, in particular the left hook.
Bellew is an intense fighter. His almost black eyes resemble those of a Leopard Seals as he glares intensely at opponents. Ready to go to war with any man whom speaks his name. He can be volatile, as the likes of David Haye, Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson, found out in the build ups to fights with Bellew.
Bellew is also a family man, whom seems not to be fighting for legacy, but to be fighting so his kids don’t have to. He comes across really well when presenting on Sky Sports, in-fact he is one of my favourites on that platform when it comes to boxing. He seems honest, genuine and has become somewhat of a “Peoples Champion”.
So why am I asking if he is, Boxing Fact or Boxing Fiction?
Let’s start with the nickname.
All fighters have a nickname, some good, such as “The Hispanic Causing Panic”. Others not so good such as “The Ambling Elk”.
Bellew’s nickname (The Bomber) for me, isn’t based on his KO record as a Pro. His KO ratio as a Pro is 66%. So where did this nickname come from?
Essentially I think it goes back to Bellew’s Amateur days. In particular the 2002 and 2003 ABA’s, where he stopped every opponent he faced. Given that record I can see why he earned his nickname. The power has been mythologized, however In boxing terms a 66% ratio isn’t what would be classed as destructive.
Could it be down to Bellew struggling like crazy to make Light Heavy for all those years?
Yes, it absolutely could.
Recent fights when Bellew hasn’t been drained have produced fireworks. His spectacular night at Goodison park where he put Makabu to sleep. The BJ Flores destruction. Then finally killing off David Haye, again with another spectacular stoppage.
In 10 fights at Cruiserweight, Bellew has stopped 8 out of 10 opponents. This for me points to the draining of his body to make Light Heavyweight, as having been the issue with transferring the power he showed as an Amateur, into the Pros.
For me this points to one verdict, “The Bomber” nickname is, FACT.
Outside of the nickname Bellew has steadily built a persona as an underdog, a “Peoples Champion”. Only a few fights back Bellew was in a make or break situation. If he had lost to Makabu, would we be at a point where Bellew is now fighting for all of the prizes against the brilliant Usyk?
In the Haye fights he was expected to be brutally dispatched. He was a significant betting underdog. I will admit, I too thought he would be blown away, however the majority (Including me) were wrong.
In his upcoming fight with Usyk he is again a significant underdog. In this case rightly so given Usyk’s pedigree and the way he walked through the Super Series.
Bellew may be playing his part, he may be playing up to the underdog tag. However, does he believe that he is an underdog? I have my doubts. The one thing I believe Bellew is, is mentally strong.
The facts don’t lie though and I find myself again declaring the “Underdog” tag as, FACT.
At this point I have to come clean and say that I started writing this article thinking it would work out as Bellew fiction. Thinking about a subject to write about I thought of Bellew’s upcoming fight with Usyk. I thought I’d end up writing a piece where Bellew had worked self promotion magic to land himself in a position to take all the prizes against Usyk.
That sort of article would have been controversial, possibly great for my profile. However as I wrote this I couldn’t sensationalise just for the sake of it. I then came to a conclusion, much earlier than expected.
Tony Bellew is an “Underdog”, he is a “Puncher” and most of all he is (In the UK) “The Peoples Champion”.
I was going to dissect his upcoming fight with Usyk but for me it’s now very simple.
Is he up against it with Usyk, yes he his. However if one fighter can pull this off it is Tony Bellew.
Come on Tony.