Tony Bellew to fight BJ Flores in first title defence
WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew (27-2-1, 17 KOs) will make his first defence against American BJ Flores (32-2-1, 20 KOs) on October 15 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Bellew won the vacant title in front of his hometown fans at Goodison Park in May when he recovered from a first-round knockdown to knockout Ilunga Makabu in the third round.
Now the Liverpudlian will defend it against the experienced Flores, who has never been stopped in 35 professional fights.
"I am going to smash BJ Flores to bits and be the first man stop him,” said Bellew. “All he keeps saying is that I am a light-heavyweight, I am this, I am that, so we will soon find out.
"He’s been mouthing off and following me around for a couple of years and I’m just a little bit fed up with him now. That’s the best way to look at it.
"I believe he will be training with Shane McGuigan and the David Haye camp, and the one thing about fighting Flores is we could well have fireworks before the fight even begins.
"He needs to tone it down and realise that I am giving him this opportunity and he is giving me nothing. He can do what he does and say what he wants, we’ll see. Come fight night he is going to be in for a rude awakening."
Flores is fighting for a world title for the second time after he lost a unanimous decision to Beibut Shumenov for the interim WBA belt last July.
"I am looking forward to this massive opportunity to become WBC champion of the world," said Flores. "I will completely dedicate the next 63 days of my life to making sure I am 100 per cent ready on fight night. Tony is a good fighter and has earned his title. Many UK fans are not familiar with my style and will be in for a real treat on October 15.
"I greatly respect the sport of boxing and I take this very seriously. I have been rated in the top 15 in the world since July of 2007. All of that means nothing unless I am able to finish with a world championship belt around my waist. I am not coming to be part of an event. There will not be one corner cut or one day without maximum effort.
"I am coming to win and after multiple camps and preparations I finally understand exactly what I need to do to win on October 15."
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "Tony has done the city proud and I’m delighted to bring World championship boxing back to Liverpool. We are planning a huge card for October 15. There is no love lost between Tony and Flores and fans can expect fireworks in and out of the ring."