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Bellew bounces back at cruiserweight

Bellew finishes strongly. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tony Bellew overcame a scare to claim a 12th-round knockout victory over the durable Valery Brudov on his cruiserweight debut.

Topping the bill in his hometown, 'Bomber' Bellew, fighting for the first time since being stopped by WBC light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last year, was given a stern test of his credentials by his rugged Russian opponent.

The Merseysider started well and a one-two dropped Brudov on to the seat of his pants in the second round and the 37-year-old veteran was arguably saved by the bell after being dropped by Bellew again in the closing stages of the sixth.

Brudov hits the canvas. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images
The fight is over. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Bellew celebrates. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Brudov, who had won 41 of his previous 45 contests before Saturday night, shrugged off any cobwebs and a heavy right hand left Bellew reeling in the seventh, with the 31-year-old barely surviving the round.

Bellew appeared more cautious from that moment on, boxing behind his jab, content to merely win the rounds.

Brudov had to go for broke in the final round, but his brave challenge finally came to an end when he left himself wide open to a left hook from Bellew, who watched on as his dazed opponent was counted out.

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Tony Bellew apologises to fans after losing title fight

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Liverpool's Echo Arena is a sell out for a big night of boxing

There's a big night of boxing at the Echo Arena with some of the region's best fighters performing for a sell out crowd of over seven thousand.

Liverpool's Derry Matthews faces Manchester's Anthony Crolla for the vacant Commonwealth Lightweight belt.

London 2012 Team GB captain Thomas Stalker goes head to head with Andrew Harris in his second professional fight.

Topping the bill is Tony Bellew who in his home city takes on Malawi's Isaac Chilemba in a WBC light- heavyweight eliminator bout.

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