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On This Day in 2016: Tony Bellew wins WBC world cruiserweight title

Tony Bellew won the vacant WBC world cruiserweight title with a third-round knockout of Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park (Martin Rickett/PA)
Tony Bellew won the vacant WBC world cruiserweight title with a third-round knockout of Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tony Bellew won the vacant WBC world cruiserweight title on this day in 2016.

The Liverpudlian, a staunch Everton fan, claimed the belt with a third-round knockout of Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park.

Bellew got the chance to fight for the title after reigning champion Grigory Drozd vacated it due to injury, but it looked like Makabu might win after sending the home favourite to the canvas in the third round.

Bellew recovered from a first-round knockdown to beat his Congolese opponent
Bellew recovered from a first-round knockdown to beat his Congolese opponent (Martin Rickett/PA)

But Bellew recovered and delivered a barrage of left hooks in the third round that floored Makabu, with the referee intervening.

It was a glorious moment for Bellew, who won a world title at the third attempt after previous bouts against Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson had ended in defeat.

After a routine defence against BJ Flores, Bellew stepped up to heavyweight to settle his rivalry with David Haye, with two successful – and lucrative – fights.

He returned to cruiserweight to take on undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk, but lost and subsequently retired.