Light-heavyweight Tony Bellew raised his profile, reputation and chances of a second world title challenge by stopping the hard hitting Edison Miranda in the ninth round at Alexandra Palace on Saturday night.
The opening stanza was a tame affair with both men cautious of the other’s power. Bellew boxed well on the back foot keeping “Pantera” at bay as he attempted to push forward.
The second round saw Miranda’s pressure rewarded as he managed to get inside Bellews’ jab and back the “Bomber” up landing a couple of hurtful right hooks however the Liverpool man answered questions over his chin as he managed to recover to land a left hook, straight right combination. Miranda responded with showboating, trying to get into his opponent’s head.
Bellew attempted to get back behind the jab in the third; however the Columbian continued to maraud forward. Miranda’s somewhat crude offence was the more effective, landing the decisive blows of the stanza even though Bellew produced the cleaner work.
The fourth round saw Miranda’s game plan become even more apparent as he looked to unleash a devastating right hook to end the night early. Bellew, who has been on the canvas in the past, weathered the storm by covering up and using his superior footwork to get out of harms way before landing a solid straight left on the bell.
The fifth stanza certainly wasn’t one for the purists, a scrappy affair in which both fighters were warned by referee Ian John-Lewis for use of the head. Miranda repeatedly tried to provoke his opponent into a war of attrition but Bellew kept a tight guard and continued to make use of his jab.
Bellew increased his work rate in the sixth, taking control of the fight with his jab and following up with the right hand before moving out of harms way.
In the seventh Bellew appeared to have solved the conundrum of keeping the Columbian at bay, he kept a high pace, doubling the jab before landing the right hand. The shots weren’t hurtful but enough deter Miranda’s persistent march forward. The home fighter backed the visitor against the ropes landing a flurry with a left hook in particular hurting “Pantera”. Rather than try and finish his opponent Bellew stepped back, perhaps wary that Miranda was playing possum.
The eighth stanza saw Bellew start to break down the Columbian’s resolve as he managed to back him up with increased frequency. Miranda’s early success was beginning to become a distant memory.
After a delayed start to the ninth round, due to Miranda’s corner taking an age to dry up the wet canvas, Bellew exerted more pressure on “Pantera” landing frequently with combinations to the head and body before finally landing the decisive left hook to the body which saw the visitor take a knee. Miranda get up at the count of six but visibly did not want to continue which left the ref with no choice but to wave off proceedings with six seconds left in the stanza.
After the fight Bellew’s promoter, Eddie Hearn gave ThaBoxingVoice his assessment of the performance. “Tony was good, Edison Miranda is so dangerous. I think he shook Tony up early and he had to weather that and just hang in there. In the end he managed to break him down.”
When asked how Tony Bellew compared to the other fighters to have stopped him (Kelly Pavlik, Lucian Bute and Arthur Abraham) Edison Miranda gave high praise indeed. “He is a good fighter, young; he is as good as the others probably just younger.”
Tony Bellew will now provide the chief support for Carl Froch’s IBF World super middleweight title defence against Yusaf Mack in Betfair’s ‘True Brit’ at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham on November 17, live on Sky Sports.
Betfair ‘True Brit’ promoter Eddie Hearn will reveal Bellew’s opponent in the coming weeks, and the Merseysider said he’s delighted to be working with someone who has the same goals he has.
“Eddie has got ambitions and a set of balls the same as mine, he’s willing to put it on the line and test me and I want to be tested,” said Bellew. Let’s see if the trend continues.