Learning curve for Bellew
Scouser wins WBC international strap with ninth round stoppage
By Adam Norman. Last Updated: 09/09/12 8:52am
Tony Bellew won the WBC international light-heavyweight title by stopping Edison Miranda inside nine rounds at Alexandra Palace.
It was not the performance fans were expecting from the 'Bomber', who took a more measured approach on his first fight in with a seasoned campaigner.
Miranda has been around the block, taking on the very best at middleweight and super-middle, but ultimately in was the weight of his opponent's shots that proved the telling factor.
The opening was cagey, neither fighter throwing much of note, but it opened up in the second when Miranda came out of his shell, offloading a barrage of dangerous blows.
Bellew was sharp enough to stay out of trouble, and came back with stylish combinations of his own.
The first four rounds were shared, Bellew playing a patient game and seemingly wary of a notoriously dangerous opponent, who was intent on fighting in small bursts.
There was frustration on Bellew's part as he failed to find any rhythm, Miranda happy to stay on the outside and use his experience to stay out of trouble.
But as he tired, the Evertonian was able to gradually gain the initiative behind a sharp jab, trapping the Colombian on the ropes at the end of the seventh but surprisingly not willing to follow up.
Miranda was trying to kid his way through to the end, but time was quickly catching up and the eighth saw Bellew land good combinations and his opponent looked distinctly weary as he walked back to his stool.
Bellew was slowly turning it on and a big right hand clearly hurt his opponent in the next, and when a left hook to the body landed flush Miranda took a knee in a neutral corner and showed no sign of wanting to beat the count, the referee waving off a rather strange encounter.
"I got the result I wanted in the end - I had to box careful and make him miss in the early rounds," he told Sky Sports. "I stuck to the tactics, it was a bit rough in the first four rounds but this is the style I've adopted.
"Once he started to physically tire and I started to hit him with punches he was wilting round by round. The gaffer gave me a bit of a telling off going into that last round and I upped the pace.
"I touched him with the left hook and I was always looking to go downstairs. I found out why he keeps his shorts so high tonight."
"I've stepped up a level here, Edison Miranda is world class. Only the A-list fighters beat him - what does that make me now? I don't profess to be the most talented but I work hard and he found out just how fit I was tonight.
"I was going through first gear for seven rounds there."