Tony (The Bomber) Bellew isn’t shy about tugging on Superman’s cape.
Adonis (Superman) Stevenson, that is.
“I’m excited to be here,” Bellew said Wednesday in advance of his bid for the World Boxing Council light heavyweight title this weekend, Stevenson’s second defence of his crown.
“Do I look like I’m intimidated by that dwarf?” Bellew blustered. “The guy looks like he just fell off my key chain for God’s sake. No problems. I’ve fought bigger guys than him.”
The southpaw Stevenson (22-1, 19 knockouts) was equally unimpressed by the Liverpool native.
“Tony, Tony, Tony,” said the five-foot-10 Stevenson. “I know you’re dreaming of becoming world champion but you’ve never faced a world champion. You’ve never faced a man — a Superman — like me. You’ll learn. I’m going to ‘knocker out’.”
Bellew (20-1-1, 12 knockouts) is competing in his first professional bout outside the United Kingdom. Standing six foot three, he is a former Commonwealth champion who lost a previous world title attempt by majority decision to WBO champ Nathan Cleverly in Liverpool in 2011. He has won five fights in a row since then.
He acknowledges Stevenson has “a good punch” but quickly adds he’s beaten bigger guys.
Bellew says he’s not shooting for a decision victory.
“I ain’t getting a points decision here, let’s be honest,” he said. “I ain’t getting a decision. If I win, I’d have to knock him down every round to get a draw. If he’s still standing after eight or nine rounds, I’m swinging for the lights.”
He noted Stevenson suffered a technical knockout in 2010 at the hands of American Darnell Boone, who he described as a “journeyman” who had lost 20 fights.
Stevenson is the only Canadian with a world title from one of the major sanctioning bodies. He has become one of the rising stars of boxing with his devastating punching power.
He won the WBC belt and The Ring magazine title as linear champion with a thundering left hook only 76 seconds into his bout with Dawson in June.
He followed that on Sept. 28 by pounding former IBF champ Tavoris Cloud so badly that the challenger quit after seven rounds. Bellew was in the Bell Centre audience for that one.
Bellew became mandatory challenger with a 12-round decision over Isaac Chilemba in May.
Bellew acknowledged there is lots of buzz around Stevenson as the fight approaches but he says he isn’t bothered by it.
“After Saturday night, they ain’t going to be talking about Stevenson no more,” he predicted.
The bout will be held Saturday at the Colisee Pepsi.
The co-feature will be another light heavyweight title clash between hard-hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1), the World Boxing Organization champion, and Ismayl Sillakh (21-1) of Ukraine. The bouts are to be aired on the U.S. specialty channel HBO.