Tony Bellew granted rematch with Isaac Chilemba in London on May 25
Last Updated: May 8, 2013 2:12pm
Tony Bellew: Bitterly disappointed after draw with Isaac Chilemba
Tony Bellew will face Isaac Chilemba again on the undercard of Carl Froch's rematch with Mikkel Kessler, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Bellew was bitterly disappointed after being held to a draw by Chilemba on 30 March, but has swiftly landed another shot at the Malawian on a big night of boxing, topped by Froch's clash with Kessler on May 25 at London's 02 Arena.
The fired-up Liverpudlian tried to overwhelm Chilemba with an early onslaught in last month's clash, but was made to look crude as he struggled to pin down his elusive opponent.
Judges leave Bellew speechless
Bellew's high work-rate seemed to give him the edge in the fight until Chilemba came out of his defensive shell in the mid-rounds and his cleaner work appeared to catch the judges' eyes.
Chilemba was handed a flattering 116-112 verdict by one judge, while another scored it 116-115 to Bellew with the third deciding on a 114-114 draw.
The winner of the light-heavyweight clash was set to challenge Chad Dawson for the WBC title and Bellew will be hoping to make amends for a disappointing display in front of his hometown fans.
Speaking afterwards at Liverpool's Echo Arena, Bellew admitted he took his foot off the gas at a crucial stage, but still felt he had done enough to earn victory.
"I'm going to be totally honest - I thought I won that fight. I thought I won nine of the 12 rounds," he said.
"Tony was desperate to get back in there and fight Chilemba and put on a much better show and Chilemba was desperate to get back in there. He believes he won the fight and believes he can do it again."
"I took a stupid round off in round six or seven and I let him gain a bit of momentum and get back into the fight. But I thought I won the fight."
Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that both fighters welcomed a quick return bout and says the winner will still be granted a WBC title shot against Dawson in September.
"It's quite unusual for a fight of this magnitude to happen in just nine weeks from fight to fight, but they both wanted to do it," he told Sky Sports News.
"Tony was desperate to get back in there and fight Chilemba and put on a much better show and Chilemba was desperate to get back in there. He believes he won the fight and believes he can do it again.
"Both guys need to put to bed this fight. They were both reasonably poor on the night; Tony has got a lot to prove in the rematch, so has Chilemba, and the winner has to fight Dawson."