Tony Bellew is in I’m A Celeb: Here’s what you need to know about the Scouse boxing champ
3 months ago
Former boxing champion Tony Bellew is no stranger to a challenge.
Scouse powerhouse Tony Bellew held several boxing titles during his professional career, rising through the ranks to be successful at cruiserweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight.
But as ‘Bomber’ prepares to tackle this year’s I’m a Celeb; he can expect to face a different challenge altogether – this time of the creepy-crawly kind.
So before Tony gets stuck into his bushtucker trials, let’s look at the life and times of this Liverpool icon and see how his skills in the ring could help him in the jungle.
The Early Days
Born in Toxteth on November 30th 1982 (meaning there’s a chance he’ll celebrate his 41st birthday on the show), Bellew later moved to Wavertree’s Smithdown Road.
The future champ attended Lawrence Community Primary before spending his senior school years at Childwall Comprehensive, where strange circumstances would lead Tony to take up boxing despite his dream of playing for his beloved Everton.
After intervening to defend a teacher from an attack by a pupil, the school permanently excluded Bellew due to the damage he caused to the boy’s jaw.
The school eventually offered him the chance to attend their sixth form, but Tony had made up his mind. He would go to the gym, train as a boxer, and tell everyone who would listen he’d become a world champion.
His bold claim would later pay off in style.
Fighting out of Liverpool’s famous Rotunda ABC, Bellew claimed the 2002 and 2003 Novice ABA titles, knocking out almost everyone he faced.
Then, after turning professional in 2007, at the relatively late age of 24, Bomber’s light-heavyweight career got off to an unbeaten start with a record of 12-0 by the end of 2009.
In 2010, the Scouser claimed his first title, winning the vacant Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title in front of a home crowd at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
But bigger things soon beckoned, and after bagging the British title, Bellew got his first crack at world title glory in 2011.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be, as Nathan Cleverly inflicted the staunch Evertonian’s first professional defeat in a majority decision.
However, Bomber didn’t take long to bounce back, winning British light-heavyweight, WBC Silver, and WBC International titles within the next two years.
Remarkably, it wasn’t until 2013 that Tony was stopped for the first time, losing to Adonis Stevenson, in a defeat that sparked Bellew’s decision to step up to cruiserweight. It was another smart move, as he won the WBO International title in his first fight at the new weight.
The following year, he finally got his revenge on Nathan Cleverly before winning the European title in London in 2015.
But Tony’s career had been building to one magnificent moment in May 2016 where, in front of a packed-out partisan crowd at Goodison Park, Bellew made good on the promise from his school days, defeating Ilunga Makabu to win his first world title.
Despite stepping up to heavyweight to beat former heavyweight world champion David Haye twice in money-spinning box-office classics, the Scouser maintains that his victory at the home of The Toffees is the highlight of a remarkable journey.
He would eventually return to cruiserweight before announcing his retirement after Ukrainian Oleksander Usky ended his ten-fight winning streak.
Film & TV Career
Amidst his glory days in the ring, Bellew found time to make his silver screen debut in the 2015 film ‘Creed’, alongside Michael B. Jordan. The Scouser starred as ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan in this continuation of Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Rocky’ series.
During rehearsals, Tony knocked out the leading man, later saying he only used 40% of his power for the staged punch.
Thankfully, Michael B Jordan got up from the canvas, and Bellew was invited back to star in Creed III in the same role.
Following his retirement from boxing, Bellew continues to make the most of his big personality, working as an analyst and commentator for DAZN Boxing.
From King Ring to King of the Jungle?
Known for his fearlessness and courage, you can expect larger-than-life Anthony Bellew to meet everything the jungle throws at him head-on.
And, if his appearance in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins in 2020 – where he faced down hardman Ant Middleton – is anything to go by, we might get some fireworks too.
One thing is for sure: the Bomber can count on the support of his wife and childhood sweetheart, Rachel, and their three sons, Corey, Cobey and Carter, who will be cheering him on every step of the way.
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