Tony Bellew will fight Valery Brudov on March 15.
Tony Bellew will move up to cruiserweight to face former world title challenger Valery Brudov in Liverpool on March 15.
His promoter, Eddie Hearn, confirmed the news via Twitter:
March 15 the new journey begins for @TonyBellew in the Cruiserweight division, he faces Russian 2time World title challenger Valery Brudov— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) January 21, 2014
Bellew, 31, decided to stop fighting at light-heavyweight following defeat against Canada's Adonis Stevenson in November 2013.
That was only the second time Liverpool native Bellew had lost in his 23-fight career, which includes 20 victories, 12 by knockout.
Following that fight, Bellow discussed his weight and health, courtesy of BBC Sport:
I've basically been on a diet for six years. I can't continue to punish my body the way I do. I think it's time for a new chapter and I'll be making the step up to cruiserweight.
Bellew is now targeting a world title fight at his new weight by the end of the year.
He took to his official Twitter account to hit back at people claiming he couldn't step up a division, and also said he has chosen a tough opponent over the option of fighting someone he knows he can beat:
Back home at the Echo Arena on March 15th, no gimme fights! I'm facing a good fighter in Valery Brudov from Russia. I look forward to it..— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 21, 2014
For people who don't know about Brudov his record is won 45 (KO 28) lost 4.. He has more KO's than I've had fights. #March15thEchoArena 👊— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 21, 2014
This is my first fight at Cruiserweight an looking at my timeline it looks like it'll be my last.😂 there bigger, there stronger. We'll see 👍— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 21, 2014
I could of had a gimme fight but what does that prove? IMO that's what's killing boxing! Brudov has only lost to grade A fighters. Am I one?— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 21, 2014
Brudov, 37, is a former world cruiserweight title challenger and has won 41 of 45 fights in his 15-year career, including 28 by KO, per BoxRec.
After failing twice during his previous attempts to win world titles at light-heavyweight, against Nathan Cleverly in 2011 and Stevenson in 2013, Bellew has made a wise move.
His initial choice of opening is brave, but it will give him a stern test and a clear indication of how suited he is to the division.
The decision to change divisions could see Bellew fight Cleverly again in the future, after the 26-year-old Welsh fighter also moved to cruiserweight, although he has not fought at that weight yet due to injury.
Overall it is a good career move. It will not only give him a fresh challenge after six years at light-heavyweight, but it can also keep him in the public eye as he attempts to fight his way through another division.