Powerhouse Adonis Stevenson Stops Tony Bellew in 6
By Peter Wells
After 3 rounds it became rather apparent just how tall an order Tony Bellew had in front of him. The left hand pistoled out in an effortless motion from Adonis Stevenson, and Bellew could hardly avoid the wicked punches headed in his direction. Stevenson’s 2013 has gone from strength to strength, each performance he has displayed a different edge to his game, it’s no wonder Bellew struggled to work out how to beat this Canadian superhero.
Bellew always acknowledged he would go down fighting, and he did just that as the referee rightly stepped in to save Liverpool’s Bellew from further punishment in round 6. A round that saw Bellew on the canvas before his legs turned to jelly from a perfectly placed left hand. That punch was as accurate as Stevenson was explosive.
Bellew can leave Quebec City with his head held high, he fought hard and gave Stevenson much to think about in the 4th round, but throughout the contest he could not keep up that same intensity. Stevenson’s defensive agility and the undoubted respect that Tony had for Stevenson’s left hand ensured he stuck to a cautious approach, which unfortunately came to no avail against a puncher that waits tolerantly for the right opportunities, never rushing or smothering his work.
In the opener there was an understandably tense 3 minutes, as neither boxer wanted to give their opponent an edge, but Adonis fought in a similar way that he does most rounds and landed a few left hands that should have nicked him the round against a Bellew that was attempting to work out the Canadian.
Bellew’s tactics likely involved Stevenson wasting energy, but his efficient work in the opening 2 rounds was a signal that Stevenson was ready for 12 rounds of exactly the same; he would not become a victim of losing steam. It would also be no surprise to find that the speed of Adonis came as a shock to the away fighter. No matter how well you prepare for that speed, it’s always different when in the ring, when suddenly speed becomes a far larger factor than anticipated.
In round 3 Bellew was caught early with a straight left and while he was not visibly shaken, Bellew was on the receiving end of several more straight lefts that needed no jab to invite themselves into the face of the Liverpudlian. A final combination at the end of the 3rd gave the first sign that Bellew was really feeling Adonis’ power.
In the 4th Bellew gave as good as he got, trading shots with Stevenson and it looked like he had scored a knockdown, but replays showed the referees call to rule it a slip was correct as the two fighter’s legs tangled. But still that gave huge confidence to Bellew but while he put everything into the punches he chucked Stevenson’s way, the favourite took them well and replied in kind with the right hook and more straight left hands.
The drama in the 4th was followed by a similar pattern as the first 3 rounds in the 5th as Bellew was left frustrated by the defensive agility of Adonis who would not allow Bellew to land anything flush in the stanza. Instead it was the left hands of Stevenson that could not miss again, despite Bellew trying hard to push the action.
Then came the beginning of the end in round 6, as Bellew was yet again made to miss several times before his patient tormentor landed a flush left hand in close, dropping Bellew in the blink of an eye – in real time the punch that landed was hard to distinguish, it was that fast. Bellew rose but it was then only a matter of time as Stevenson remained patient, snapping out two jabs before the straight left hand landed under the ear of Bellew, and suddenly his legs did an involuntary dance before the referee jumped in to save the underdog from any further punishment.
With the win Stevenson jumps to 23-1(20) and will now be eyeing up a contest with Sergey Kovalev who beat Ismayl Sillahk on the undercard in two rounds to keep his WBO Light Heavyweight title. The potential unification would be mouth-watering. The WBC champion would hold the edge in the versatility category and also significantly in the speed department, but many would believe that Kovalev hits harder and possess the sturdier chin. Yet one has a feeling that those multiple dimensions to his game would be the difference between the two, Stevenson would just have that little bit extra in his arsenal to win the fight.
As for Bellew he drops to 20-2-1(12) and will have to regroup first before he can come again. Losing to arguably the number one Light Heavyweight in the world is nothing to be ashamed of, but it may take some time for Bellew to gain another shot at world honours.
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