Bellew fights to a draw with Chilemba
Tony Bellew thought he had done enough to claim victory in his WBC final eliminator with Isaac Chilemba on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
However the judges had other ideas, Christophe Fernandez had it 116-112 for Chilemba, Fabian Guggenheim was unable to separate them at 114-114 and Eddie Pappoe scoring 116-115 for Bellew resulting in a draw verdict.
A win for Bellew (19-1-1) would have secured a showdown with Chad Dawson for the WBC light heavyweight strap, but it was an all-round frustrating night for the 30-year-old Liverpudlian, who wasn’t given the chance to lay down his usual aggressive approach.
Bellew started off the fight lively enough, backing Chilemba (20-1-2) into corners and unleashing good shots, but the man nicked named ‘The Golden Boy’ proved to be a stern test, as he took the last few rounds, catching Bellew with a good right hand in the seventh, and then again in the tenth.
After the twelve rounds was complete both men held their hands in the air indicating they had won the fight.
"I thought I won nine of the twelve rounds and even Chilemba's trainer Buddy McGirt, one of the most respected men in boxing, told me he thought I won," said a disappointed Bellew.
The chief support also ended in a draw between Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla, which was for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title.
It was not a war like their first encounter but still an absorbing, bloody affair that may lead to a third fight in their series, Mathews stopped Crolla in their first fight last year.
Judges Marcus McDonnell scored it 115-113 for Mathews, Ian John-Lewis had it 115-113 for Crolla with Steve Gray scoring it 115-115.
Manchester's Crolla was the better boxer and Liverpool's Mathews the more damaging puncher, although both showed the signs of battle, Crolla was cut and bruised on the right eye while from round four Mathew's nose leaked blood.
Crolla is now 25-4-1 (9 KO), while Mathews is 32-8-2 (17 KO).