Sky Sports Fight Night: Tony Bellew Vs Ilunga Makabu (10pm, Sunday)
Ilunga Makabu to win at 4/6 with Betfair
Tony Bellew will headline at Everton’s stadium against Ilunga Makabu for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title on Sunday at Goodison Park. Fighting Live on Sky Sports, Bellew has already been soaking up the atmosphere in his home city with a promo visit to the stadium this week. The decorated 33 year old Liverpudlian has twice fought for World titles in the past, but this gives him a huge chance of landing a belt in front of his home crowd.
In his way is a very dangerous opponent in the shape of Congolese Illunga Makabu. A 6ft 2in Southpaw fighter, the 28 year old has won 19 of his 20 bouts, his one and only loss being his pro debut in 2008. Since then he has been on a tear, with 18 stoppages from his 19 wins to date. There isn’t a great deal to know about him, but he does have a reputation as being a very good banger and unlike so many “unknowns” on a long winning streak against a big step up in opposition, Makabu is actually the odds-on about at 4/7 with Sky Bet (4/6 Ladbrokes, Coral) for this fight, with Bellew the 11/8 marginal underdog.
There is a chance that the reason he hasn’t faced anyone noteworthy yet is because he’s being avoided! If so, then this is the African’s chance to finally step out from the shadows and tell show us what he’s made of. Tony Bellew is a respected battler, a tough competitor and a quality Cruiserweight, but in no way is he world class in the wider sense of the word. Emotions can get the better of him at times and with the pressure of a home crowd in his way, how will he respond, especially if caught by a big punch or two in the early rounds?
Bellew has won his last six fights and this will be his first outing of 2016, but it is a potentially banana skin fight against a well-touted, younger fighter who is known for KO victories. With that in mind, it could pay to side with what the market is telling us about Ilunga Makabu and back him for the win on Sunday at Goodison Park.