Bellew battles BJ Flores for first title defence, Campbell clashes with Mathews in Liverpool
Lee Gormley | 15 October 2016
Tony Bellew v BJ Flores
- WBC cruiserweight title fight
- Saturday, October 15th
- Scheduled for: 22:30 BST
- Echo Arena, Liverpool
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Bellew v Flores tips for Liverpool fight night
After toppling Ilunga Makabu to clinch the vacant WBC cruiserweight title in May, reigning champion Tony Bellew makes his maiden defence against American challenger BJ Flores at the Echo Arena in Liverpool this Saturday night.
Having realised his dream of becoming world champion at Goodison Park earlier in the year, Bellew (27-2-1, 17 KOs) will look to continue a successful 2016 by retaining his crown against Flores (32-2-1, 20 KOs) in front of home supporters on Merseyside once again.
The 33-year-old title holder in on a seven-fight winning streak since his second career defeat at the hands of current light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson back in November 2013, and he is aiming to prove his dominance at 200lbs.
Bellew enters as the massive favourite to prevail on home territory this weekend and is 15/8 with Coral to earn a points decision success over Flores, who has never been stopped in his 35-bout career spanning 13 years.
‘Bomber’ seeking to destroy Flores
The defending champion has overcome the likes of recently crowned WBA light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly and hard-hitting Pole Mateusz Masternak in recent ring outings, and the Liverpudlian has warned his latest challenger to expect a rough night.
“I’ve worked hard, I’ve done everything I can in camp and it is what it is so we’ll see where we are come Saturday night,” said Bellew, who is 8/13 to become the first man to knockout Flores.
“I’ve opened my mouth, I’ve done what I said over the years, but ultimately I’ve always got in the ring and tried to back it up as best as I can. The target is on my back now, firmly set there so I have to just go out there and show what I’m about.
“I don’t think you’re ever going to find someone with my mentality struggling to get up for fights. I understand what’s at stake every time I step in that ring and believe you me – I’ll show what’s at stake Saturday night.”
Californian Flores boasts five more wins and three more KOs than Bellew in his long-standing career, but lost his only other bout away from home. The 37-year-old is 6/1 to cause an upset on his UK debut, though the home fighter enters at 9/2 to end proceedings early inside rounds 1-3 in front of a rapturous partisan crowd.
Campbell collides with Mathews on undercard
In what is an intriguing lightweight match-up on the undercard in Liverpool, Britain’s 2012 Gold medallist Luke Campbell (14-1, 11 KOs) enters the lion’s den to tackle home hope Derry Mathews (38-10-2, 20 KOs).
The Hull fighter is aiming to reignite his career with success on Merseyside by successfully defending his current WBC Silver lightweight strap and a strong performance could put on the path towards a world title shot.
Campbell will take to the squared circle at 2/1 to earn a points decision triumph, while gritty competitor Mathews 10/3 to hand his opponent a damaging second professional setback.
There’s plenty of other British and Irish talent on show too, with Belfast’s Ryan Burnett entering as the odds-on 1/7 front runner to get the better of Merseysider Ryan Farrag (4/1) and claim the British bantamweight crown.
Sean Dodd is also a highly favoured 1/9 to oust Francesco Patera (5/1), while Tom Farrell (1/16) faces Farid Hakimi (7/1) and Liverpool super-middleweight Rocky Fielding (1/200) takes on Istvan Zeller (18/1).
After reading our Bellew v Flores tips, how do you see the fight going on Merseyside? Have your say in our comments section!