Tony Bellew has warned Isaac Chilemba that he is willing through the pain barrier and beyond for victory in their official final eliminator for the WBC light heavyweight title on Saturday night in Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, live on Sky Sports.
Bellew and Chilemba came face-to-face for the first time at today’s press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool ahead of the crunch clash on Saturday, and the hometown star rejected the thoughts of Chilemba’s trainer Buddy McGirt, who predicted Bellew would struggle to cope with the pressure of performing in front of a huge Merseyside crowd.
“People have no idea what I am willing to put on the line,” said Bellew. “He won’t understand until he gets in. It is alright saying all the pressure is on me, pressure is nothing getting in front of thousands of people, I get a buzz out of it, I get a kick out of it; there is no pressure.
“Real pressure is dealing with a family day to day, having a family life, going home to fend for kids, that is pressure. Getting in the ring and smashing away at someone’s face that is a pleasure, not a pressure, it is something I like to do. It is what I do and it is what I am going to do Saturday.
“He can say all he wants about pressure with thousands of fans and my family there, it doesn’t bother me. I have done it before with 10,000 in there. Come Saturday you’ll see. It is one thing watching me on tape, it is another thing getting in a ring with me and feeling what I have got. He is going to feel that, he is going to feel something that he has never felt before.
“Buddy can say whatever he wants; play these mind games, or do whatever. You will see Saturday it is that simple. I am willing to die in that ring; it is as simple as that. Ask yourself this, I am willing to die? I will go to any length, you have seen cuts, banged up, on the floor, anything, I am willing to die Saturday. Is he?”
Malawian Chilemba told Bellew he was comfortable as the away fighter and says that with the pressure off, he can focus on doing his job: beating Bellew to land a World title shot.
“I have always fought under those circumstances and as Buddy said, I am not the one under pressure here,” said Chilemba. “Tony is the one who is under pressure here. He is going to be in that arena full of people supporting him. They all believe in him and they expect the best out of him and he is going to do his best not to let his people down so he is under pressure. We are the underdogs here, I am here to do my business and I am looking forward to it.”
Bellew and Chilemba top a fantastic bill in Liverpool with the chief support provided by the fight of the year rematch between Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla, who clash for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title.
Rocky Fielding defends his English super middleweight title against Wayne Reed while Olympic captain Thomas Stalker boxes in his hometown for the first time as a pro. Unbeaten Liverpool starlet Jazza Dickens faces Jon Fernandes for the vacant super bantamweight title, while Stalker’s fellow former Team GB members Kal Yafai, Callum Smith and Scotty Cardle continue their pro journeys.
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Liverpool Echo Arena on March 30 are on sale now priced £30, £40 and £60 from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and www.echoarena.com. £100 ringside and £150 VIP tickets are available from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com.