Tony Bellew Steps Up to Cruiserweight to Fight Former World Title Challenger

Michael WadeAnalyst IIIJanuary 21, 2014

Tony Bellew will fight Valery Brudov on March 15.
Tony Bellew will fight Valery Brudov on March 15.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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:

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.

Tony Bellew in action against Isaac Chilemba in 2013.
Tony Bellew in action against Isaac Chilemba in 2013.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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:

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.