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.
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.
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