Bellew warns Chilemba: Fans want blood on a knife
Tony Bellew has warned weekend opponent Isaac Chilemba the Liverpool crowd will want "blood on a knife", and he plans to give it to them as he steps up his pursuit of a world title shot.
Reigning Commonwealth champion Bellew faces Chilemba in his hometown on March 30, knowing victory would likely book him a crack at WBC light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.
The 30-year-old has won his last three fights but meets a dangerous opponent in Chilemba, who is five years his junior. Bellew believes he has one distinct advantage though, insisting the home crowd will intimidate Chilemba come Saturday.
"People can say 'it's not that bad' and 'it won't affect me, I'm fine' but I've been there and I've experienced and believe me, there's nothing worse than between 8,000 and 10,000 scousers screaming like lunatics," Bellew told Buncey's Boxing Podcast on ESPN.
"They want blood on a knife at the end of the day. It might be boxing, it's a sport to some but they turn up and the God's honest truth, they want brutality and they want to see pain. I'm thinking they turn up because they know I'm going to deliver that in some kind of way.
"We've got a similar opponent in common in Edison Miranda. He beat him on points, I stopped him. Chilemba's a really good fighter, I think he's the most well-rounded fighter I've boxed in my career - he does everything quite good, he's quick, he's got good skills, good defence, he's shown he can get off the floor to win, he's a good all-round fighter.
"He has no major weaknesses but he has no outstanding strong points. I would say he might be a bit quicker than me but I'm an awfully lot stronger than him."
Bellew's ultimate goal is to book a shot against Dawson, whom he is convinced he will face if the champion can get past Adonis Stevenson on June 8 later this year.
"The WBC have stated that I will be a mandatory challenger once I've beaten Isaac Chilemba. I think Dawson's going to fight Adonis Stevenson so all that I know is that the winner of that fight has to face me.
"I fancy Dawson strongly but you can never tell because Stevenson's a ferocious puncher and, it's not an ideal fight for him (Dawson) to be honest, especially coming in after a loss against [Andre] Ward. It doesn't make sense but listen, I'm sure he's getting paid very well financially, that fight's in Canada, it's on a big bill at the Bute-Pascal fight.
"So it must make sense for him to go and fight Adonis Stevenson so I'll just wait, I'll sit by for the winner. I'll be ready. All I can think about is March 30th, this Saturday, I've worked my whole life to get to where I'm going now.
"The WBC title's been a dream of mine since I was a kid. Everybody in boxing knows the Green Belt, what it means to everyone and it's a dream come true so I just want my chance to fight for it now and I believe I can become WBC champion of the world."