Bellew v Chilemba II: Golden Boy could take Bomber the distance

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Ever since his defeat to fellow Brit Nathan Cleverly, Liverpool’s Tony Bellew (19-1-1) has been on an upward trajectory in his bid to secure a world title.

Cleverly’s win remains the only loss on The Bomber’s resume and the 6ft 2.5” 30-year-old firmly believes that the Light Heavyweight strap is his destiny.

Before his last fight – a draw against this month’s opponent Isaac Chilemba (20-1-2) – few in the boxing world would have disagreed with Bellew.

However, after labouring to a draw at the Echo Arena – a decision which saw one of the judges mark the card 116-112 in favour of Chilemba – Bellew will need to up his game in order to reach the heights he craves.

Should he fail to overcome Chilemba again the fight seems likely to go the distance, with the African boasting just nine KOs in his 23 fights, making the 20/1 on the draw potentially good value.

The prize for victory in this bout however, is a shot at the winner of Chad Dawson v Adonis Stevenson for the WBC belt and, while the odds favour a home win for Bellew, many believe Chilemba has his number.

All the pre-fight talk is of Bellew adding to his 12 KOs at the O2 Arena in London and finally earning a shot at the title, hence the Brit’s favourite tag at 8/15.

However, this was evidently the plan in Liverpool in March but once Chilemba stood up to The Bomber’s obvious power in the early rounds, the Liverpudlian seemed devoid of a solid ‘Plan B’.

Chilemba grew into the fight last time out, dominating the latter rounds, and may feel he has worked out a way to beat Bellew.

The Malawian, who boasts the ambitious moniker Golden Boy, is a former IBO Super Middleweight champion and last tasted defeat in 2007, so his odds of 13/8 could tempt those fancying an upset.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.