Tony Bellew settles score with Isaac Chilemba in rematch
Last Updated: 26/05/13 2:16am
Tony Bellew defeats Isaac Chilemba on points in rematch (pic by Lawrence Lustig)
Tony Bellew settled his score with Isaac Chilemba as his unanimous points win earned a shot at a light-heavyweight world title.
The Liverpudlian was held to a draw in his first fight with Chilemba, but he took command of the rematch with an early onslaught and his steady workrate secured victory with scores of 116-112 117-112 and 116-112.
This win means Bellew should advance towards a fight against the winner of Chad Dawson's WBC title defence against Adonis Stevenson.
Bellew made a confident start, forcing Chilemba back with stiff jabs, while a short right hand drew a concerned look from his opponent.
Chilemba was clearly not comfortable with Bellew's fast start and was bullied to the ropes near the end of the opener.
The pace briefly lulled in the second as Chilemba had time to find his foe with sharp hooks, but Bellew responded with rapier-like rights that rocked the 'Golden Boy' back on his heels.
Bellew appeared to injure his left eye in the third as he pawed at it with his glove, but the Merseysider maintained his assault, catching Chilemba with ferocious right hands.
A steady stream of jabs from Bellew struck Chilemba in the fourth and he also shipped a crunching body shot before responding with some crisp left hands.
Chilemba displayed more urgency in the fifth as he unloaded cuffing shots at close range and tied up Bellew when he tried to ram home right hands.
But 'The Bomber' was pushing the pace again in the sixth and a short right crashed into Chilemba, who felt the force of more spiteful body shots.
Chilemba capitalised on some wayward punching from Bellew in the seventh, countering cleverly with accurate left hands as the Englishman became more reckless.
Bellew's eye injury was highlighted by his constant blinking and there was plenty of holding in a scrappy eighth with few clean punches on show.
Prodding jabs from Chilemba failed to keep Bellew at bay in the ninth as he unleashed powerful right hands near the end of the round.
Bellew lacked accuracy in the 10th, with the pace taking its toll, and he was forcing his punches while Chilemba countered cleanly.
Chilemba appeared to sense Bellew's gradual burn out and he found his range with jabs and crisp right hands.
But Bellew ended the final round with a flourish as he landed a fierce left hook before a big right rocked Chilemba's head back.