Tony Bellew recovered from a first-round knockdown to win the WBC world cruiserweight title with a third-round stoppage of Ilunga Makabu.
The Everton supporter – in front of his own fans at Goodison Park – was floored by the Congolese fighter in round one but came back with a flurry of punches in the third which pinned his opponent against the ropes.
A combination of left hooks, followed by a damaging right left Makabu out cold on his feet, to the delight of the Goodison faithful. After the knockout the 33-year-old went over to Makabu’s corner and said: “I respect you so much. We can’t be friends before but I respect you so much.”
Bellew then told Sky Sports: “I got knocked down but that’s what I do. I told you I am Everton. That’s why I got up. Nothing was going to stop me tonight. I cried in the dressing room two hours ago when I got here. I achieved the dream tonight, I am world champion, that’s what I am.
“I believe in my coach and these people around me. My dad, my missus, my sons, I do it all for them. So much credit to a lot of people. I am the best cruiserweight in the world.”
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