Tony Bellew has vowed to overcome Isaac Chilemba’s spoiling tactics and land himself a shot at the WBC title when the pair rematch as chief support to Carl Froch’s blockbuster bout with Mikkel Kessler at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.
The Bomber and his South African rival drew agreed a quick rematch after ascore draw in their WBC light heavyweight final eliminator in Liverpool in March. The winner will become mandatory challenger for the WBC light heavyweight title, which Chad Dawson defends against Adonis Stevenson in Canada on June 8.
Bellew has promised an improved performance this time around, and says Chilemba had no other option but to fight him again.
“I wanted the rematch straight away and he basically had nowhere to go,” said Bellew.
“He is somebody who no-one wants to fight because at the end of the day Isaac Chilemba is in the ‘who-needs-you’ club because he doesn’t come to fight, he comes to make you miss and make you look bad.
“Ideally we match up very well and we match up to make a really, really great fight but you can’t force a guy to fight in that ring. To make a great fight happen it takes two to tango and it takes two guys who really want to have a fight. I am willing to play my part in it, it is whether he is willing to play his part.
“The real big difference on the night will be in my output and this time I am not going to stop after seven rounds, that is the top and bottom of it. I am not going to fall apart halfway through the fight.
“I didn’t perform last time, it is as simple as that. I did not perform to anywhere near the best of my ability or my potential and I was very disappointed in myself. While I still think I won, and he knows I won deep down, I still didn’t perform well enough and I am paying for that by having this rematch.”
Bellew believes Chad Dawson, 30, will retain his title against Stevenson.
“I think Dawson is too clever for Stevenson,” said Bellew. “But Stevenson has an equaliser in that right hand; he can really, really punch.
“I am not looking too much into that fight, I will pay attention to that once I beat Chilemba, but my head says Dawson because he is at that level and has dealt with people at that level many times before but you can never write off a puncher and Stevenson is definitely, definitely a puncher.”
Bellew v Chilemba II is the chief support to Froch v Kessler on May 25 and is live on Sky Sports HD Box Office. Visit skysports.com/froch or call 08442 410888 for booking information.