TONY BELLEW made good on his promise as he destroyed DANNY MCINTOSH with a TKO in the fifth round to regain his British light heavyweight title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
The 29-year-old had been out of action since losing to bitter rival, WBO champion NATHAN CLEVERLY, last October but showed no signs of ring rust with a punch perfect performance in front of his hometown fans.
McIntosh, 32, came into the fight with a decent pedigree, being a former European champion and having only two blemishes on his record with losses against Cleverly and EBU champion EDUARD GUTKNECHT.
However, despite all the talk leading up to the fight, aptly titled “The Big Bang”, McIntosh did not exactly exude confidence.
It was clear to see from the start that Bellew meant business, as though he had a point to prove after losing his unbeaten record to Welshman Cleverly. Bellew stung McIntosh throughout the first round with a serious of left jabs, taking control the ring and leaving McIntosh swinging and missing.
It was more of the same in the second as Bellew began to unload on the Norwich man, whose nose began to bleed after repeated left jabs. Bellew began to smell weakness as he pounced on McIntosh, firing away with accurate combinations, sending McIntosh’s gumshield up in the air twice in one round.
Things went from bad to worse for McIntosh in the third as Bellew pummelled McIntosh with stiff body blows and crunching head shots, leaving McIntosh dazed and bewildered. McIntosh somehow managed to survive the round but the writing was on the wall for “Danny Mac” as he was a beaten man.
Bellew continued to dominate as he turned on the style, throwing clinical shots to the body and blistering combinations, forcing McIntosh’s gumshield out for the third time in the fight. McIntosh had offered very little in return for Bellew’s onslaught and the punishment finally took its toll as he was floored in the dying seconds of the fourth.
McIntosh rose after an eight count but the end arrived 38 seconds into the fifth round as Bellew reacted to a clash of heads by knocking out McIntosh with a thunderous right hand, sending McIntosh crashing to the canvas.
Referee Terry O’Connor had no choice but to call an immediate halt to proceedings, making Bellew a well-deserved winner.
This was exactly the kind of performance that Bellew needed, a solid and clinical show that stakes his claim amongst the top contenders for a world title shot.
Inevitably there will now be talks of a possible rematch with Cleverly, however Bellew was quick to quash those rumours.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, “The Bomber” said: “I don’t need Nathan Cleverly to make a name for myself, or a living.
“You’ve seen who he’s fighting – he’s fighting number 83 in the world.
“I’m supposed to be the one coming in off the loss and I’m fighting a former European champion and he’s fighting 83 in the world.
“I don’t want to go on about it. He is what he is, he’s fighting who he’s fighting. I just want to fight people who test me.
“I want to see how good I am, I want to see where I can go and I just want to test myself to the limit.”