Tony Bellew stops B.J. Flores in three
Tony Bellew defended his WBC cruiserweight title for the first time with a third-round stoppage of former title challenger B.J. Flores on Saturday in his hometown of Liverpool, England.
Bellew (28-2-1, 17 knockouts) dropped Flores four times in the brief-but-entertaining fight, which was televised on Sky Sports in the U.K. Flores (32-3-1, 20 knockouts), who suffered the first knockout loss of his 13-year pro career, went down three times in Round 2. The first knockdown occurred while he was complaining to referee Ian John Lewis about a low blow. Bellew caught and dropped the American with a right cross to the temple midway through the round. Flores, who had a solid opening round by working behind his jab, got up at Lewis’ count of “8” and then landed some heavy shots of his own.
Bellew, who won the cruiserweight belt with an up-from-the-canvas third-round stoppage of Ilunga Makabu in May, put Flores down again with a short inside hook. Flores got up and landed a few hooks of his own before suffering a third knockdown just before the bell, this one courtesy of a cross to the top of his head.
Flores, a 37-year-old former heavyweight prospect who does a lot of broadcast work, started Round 3 hard and fast but his aggression played in to Bellew’s heavier hands as the bombastic Brit dropped with a hook during a heated exchange. Lewis waved the bout off early in the round.
The victory was Bellew’s eighth straight since suffering a sixth-round TKO to Adonis Stevenson in November 2013, his last bout at light heavyweight. He is THE RING’s No. 4-rated crusierweight.
Flores is now 8-2 in his last 10 bouts since suffering the first loss of his career against Danny Green (in a bid for the IBO belt) in 2010. He dropped a unanimous decision to Beibut Shumenov with the WBA interim title on the line last July.
A full ringside report by Tom Gray will be posted shortly.
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