LIVERPOOL: Hollywood actor Tony Bellew recovered from a first round knock-down to win the vacant WBC cruiserweight world title with a third round knock-out of Ilunga Makabu on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
It was a case of third time lucky for Everton fan Bellew after twice coming up short when challenging for light-heavyweight world titles previously.
But Bellew, who acted alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 2015 boxing movie “Creed”, picked himself off the canvas after a hard first round knockdown to knock his Congolese opponent out cold in the third at Everton’s Goodison Park football stadium.
“I got knocked down but that’s what I do,” Bellew told Sky Sports.
“I told you I am Everton. That’s why I got up. Nothing was going to stop me tonight.
“I cried in the dressing room two hours ago when I got here. I achieved the dream tonight, I am world champion, that’s what I am.”
The 33-year-old seemed in control of the first round but got caught flat-footed as Makabu landed a straight left hand that sent Bellew down and into a backward roll.
He got up and looked unhurt as the bell rang to end the first round before the fight resumed.
Bellew looked tentative in the second but he started to open up his shots in the third and soon had Makabu, 28, on the ropes before landing a left-hand shot that had the Congolese fighter unconscious before he hit the canvas.