Tony Bellew says all-rounder Isaac Chilemba offers biggest test so far

Last Updated: 29/03/13 8:13am

Tony Bellew admitted on Ringside that Saturday night's showdown with Isaac Chilemba will be the hardest fight of his life so far.

The Liverpool fighter has beaten the likes of Ovill McKenzie and Danny McIntosh in his impressive professional career to date with his only defeat in 20 bouts coming against Nathan Cleverly back in 2011.

"I love his attitude and I love the way he talks. I love the way he gets people who aren't really interested in boxing looking up and thinking 'who's this kid?'"

Paul Smith

But he says the light-heavyweight world title eliminator against Chilemba - who is trained by the legendary Buddy McGirt - is the biggest obstacle he has faced to date because the Malawian has so many attributes.

Bellew said: "I'm excited. It's a big fight and a big test and I've got to go into the Echo Arena and show what I'm all about once again.

"Chilemba is a very well all-rounded fighter and I think he's the best all-rounder I've boxed so far.

"I've fought guys in the past who are quicker than me and I've fought guys who may be stronger and bigger than me. I've fought many different styles, but I've never fought a guy who ticks so many boxes.

"This is a massive, massive fight and the biggest test of my career. I've got to find a way to get past it and come through it and I will do that,

"I always find a way, but it's going to be tough and I'm not underestimating anybody."

Talk

Former British super-middleweight champion Paul Smith has watched his fellow Liverpudlian rise through the ranks and capture the limelight in the city in recent years.

And while he enjoys the way Bellew talks about his fights, he insists he has more boxing nous than his 'Bomber' nickname implies.

"I like everything about him," Smith told Ringside.

"I love his attitude and I love the way he talks. I love the way he gets people who aren't really interested in boxing looking up and thinking 'who's this kid?'

"It's his mouth, the way he talks about his fights and the way he builds his fights up, but what I like the most about him is that he's been studying boxing non-stop as a fanatic since he was 13 or 14, possibly younger.

"He used to get trained in an old everyday gym and he was punching like a pro before he even came down to the Rotunda to do it properly.

"He studied the game non-stop, he's learned his trade the correct way and he's gone right through the amateurs and got pedigree.

"He's an exciting fighter and when he puts it all on the line he looks world class and he is world class."