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Canada's Stevenson to defend WBC title against Bellow

The Canadian Press

10/17/2013 6:07:13 PM

MONTREAL -- Adonis Stevenson's has an approach to fighting much taller opponents -- the bigger they come, the harder they fall.

The 36-year-old Montreal fighter will put that to the test in the second defence of his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title when he faces six-foot-three Englishman Tony Bellow on Nov. 30 at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City.

"I fought Chad Dawson, who is six foot three. He go down," the five-foot-10 Stevenson said Thursday. "I fought Aaron Pryor (Jr.), who was six-foot-five. He go down.

"It doesn't matter."

The two fighters and their promoters held news conferences in Quebec City and Montreal to announce the bout.

The co-feature will be another light heavyweight title clash between hard-hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1), the World Boxing Organization champion, and Ismayl Sillakh (21-1) of Ukraine. The bouts are to be aired on the U.S. specialty channel HBO.

The southpaw Stevenson (22-1, 19 knockouts), the only Canadian with a world title from one of the major sanctioning bodies, has become one of the rising stars of boxing with his devastating punching power.

He won the WBC belt and The Ring magazine title as linear champion with a thundering left hook only 76 seconds into his bout with Dawson in June.

He followed that on Sept. 28. by pounding former IBF champ Tavoris Cloud so badly that the challenger quit after seven rounds. Bellew was in the Bell Centre audience for that one.

Bellew (20-1-1) became mandatory challenger with a 12-round decision over Isaac Chilemba in May.

The Liverpool native, who will be fighting on his 31st birthday, felt Dawson took Stevenson lightly and that Cloud went in unprepared. He said he won't make those mistakes.

"I don't believe he has fought someone as hungry, someone who will show him that much respect and someone who will come with a game plan," said Bellew. "I don't think he wants to fight a six-foot-three guy who can box.

"It's a bit of a danger for him."

Bellew is a former Commonwealth champion who lost a previous world title attempt by majority decision to WBO champ Nathan Cleverly in Liverpool in 2011. He has won five fights in a row since then.

He will perform outside England for the first time, but says he's looking forward to it.

"I've wanted to do this my whole career," he said. "I sell 10,000 seats easily in Liverpool.

"That brings huge pressure. I've always wanted to get away and do something not many from my home town have done."

Bellew respects Stevenson's power, but disputes the comparisons with former heavyweight great and knockout artist Mike Tyson the Canadian has drawn.

"He's kidding a lot of people," he said. "After the Dawson fight, people have him down as some sort of Mike Tyson.

"He's the total opposite. He's an out and out counter puncher. He fights off fear. He doesn't want to get hit. He's felt what it likes to be knocked out. That's something I've never felt."

Stevenson's only loss was by second-round knockout in 2010 to journeyman Darnell Boone, who was 16-15-2 at the time.

Not long after, Stevenson, a one-dimension boxer, was taken under the wing of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward to add some technique to his power. Steward died last year of an intestinal disorder, but his nephew Javan (Sugar) Hill has kept the same program.

Stevenson's skills are noticeably better, but it is still the stunning force of his blows that win his fights. Many opponents have gone in confident they can outbox him until they take the first hammer-like shot.

"I'm under no illusions," said Bellew. "This is the top level.

"He's the man of the moment with HBO. They've labelled him the new Tyson. He's this, he's that. But just for a second, look past all the hype and look deeper into the record. If you look, I ain't facing Superman. He's been knocked out by a journeyman. If Darnell Boone can do it, so can I."

It's been just two months between fights for Stevenson, so he will have little break from heavy training. Fatigue may be a factor.

Stevenson said he just wants to get the mandatory defence out of the way so he can concentrate on bigger bouts in 2014.

"My last fight, I didn't get hit," he said. "That's why I took this fight. I just want to finish with that, but after that I'm going to have a good break."

Promoter Yvon Michel said that if Stevenson wins, his next fight is not likely to be a unification bout with Kovalev, who may end up facing Jean Pascal.

Pascal is to fight Lucian Bute in a long-anticipated showdown between former world champions from Montreal on January 18 at the Bell Centre.