Recently crowned European champion Tony Bellew has decided to vacate his title in pursue of a world title shot. The Liverpudlian was due to face Ukrainian Dmytro Kucher in a mandatory defence, but Bellew has decided against defending the belt.
Tony Belllew became European champion by beating a tough opponent in Pole Mateusz Masternak at last month’s Anthony Joshua/DillanWhyte PPV undercard, winning on points and giving him his biggest test and win to date.
Bellew insists that Masternak is a better fighter than Kucher and he feels facing the Ukrainan would be a step backwards.
“I vacated the European title as a world title is next,” said Bellew.
“I don’t believe in vacating titles, but under these circumstances I had no choice. The world title is next and there is no time for a defence of the European title.
“I also believe Masternak is better than Kucher, so it would be a step backwards in all honesty.
“I just want to become world champion.”
“I’ve won the British, Commonwealth and now European so there is just one left to get and that is my focus now.”
For Bellew to become world champion he will have to go after either Denis Lebedev (WBA), Grigory Drozd (WBC), Krzysztof Glowacki (WBO) or Victor Ramirez (IBF) – who are the current world champions at cruiserweight.
Currently Bellew is ranked best with the WBO being ranked fourth, although he is also ranked sixth with IBF and ninth with WBA.
The 33-year-old has had two previous shots at world title glory, both times coming up short against Nathan Cleverly (WBO) and Adonis Stevenson (WBC) when campaigning at light-heavyweight.
Could this be third time lucky for Tony Bellew should he get his shot?