EBU cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew (26-2-1, 16 KOs) vacated his title today in order to chase a cruiserweight world title shot.
Bellew told skysports.com “I vacated the European title as a world title is next. I don’t believe in vacating titles, but under these circumstances I had no choice. The world title is next and there is no time for a defence of the European title. I also believe Masternak is better than Kucher, so it would be a step backwards in all honesty. I just want to become world champion. I’ve won the British, Commonwealth and now European so there is just one left to get and that is my focus now.”
So if Bellew is vacating the title to avoid having to take “a step backwards,” with a mandatory defence against Dmytro Kucher what constitutes a step forward? Oleansanddr Usyk? Marco Huck? Olanrewaja Durodola? I hope so, but such competition would be seen as a step too far by many. Similarly three of the four the current cruiserweight champions; Krzysztof Glowacki, Grigory Drozd, Denis Lebedev would also be seen as a big ask for Bellew right now.
In this case, Victor Ramirez, the IBF champion definitely offers the path of least resistance. Whilst Ramirez is definitely the most appealing route for Bellew without a lucrative offer it’s unlikely that Bellew can make such a fight at this time.