Tony Bellew proved that he is ready to challenge for a world title after overcoming a difficult test against the vastly experienced Edison Miranda on Saturday night at Alexandra Palace.

The Liverpool fighter found life difficult as he struggled to work out the unpredictable Colombian who continually played up to the crowd throughout the contest.

Bellew gradually wore down his opponent and in the ninth round he landed a succession of blows, including one to the body, which forced Miranda to take a knee.

Tony Bellew
Bellew stops Miranda in the ninth round [Reuters]

The two-time world title challenger was on his feet before the ten count, but decided he no longer wanted to continue and Bellew was crowned the new WBC International light-heavyweight champion.

"I'm 50/50 about tonight, I got the end result I wanted so I'm happy with that," said Bellew after the fight. "The game plan was to make him miss in the first four rounds then make him pay after.

"It was a bit rough in the first four rounds but I stuck to the plan once he started to tire and I started to hit him with punches. The gaffer gave me a telling off in the corner going into the last round and I stepped it up, landed the left hook and went downstairs - you've never seen Miranda's belly-button in his career and now you know why.

"People go on about my chin and saying I've been down - but I get up and it's what I do when I get up that counts, I will never, ever stop."

Bellew was unsuccessful in his only previous attempt to win a world title when he suffered the sole loss of his professional career thus far, to WBO champion Nathan Cleverly.

However, he believes that he should now be considered a challenger on the world stage after stopping a fighter who had only previously lost to the very best in the super-middleweight division.  

"Only A-list guys beat Edison Miranda so what does that make me?" said Bellew. "He's proven world class. I don't know how good I am but I work hard and I improve all the time.

"I have been asking for this type of fight for a long time and we should be seeing more names of Edison's calibre coming to the UK to fight me."

On the undercard, Lee Purdy produced a stunning fourth round stoppage of previously unbeaten Argentine Gumersindo Carrasco in four frenetic rounds to win the IBF International title.

On paper it promised to be an explosive affair and as with all Purdy fights it certainly didn't disappoint, with the Colchester man hitting his straps in an electric opening, dropping the visitor in the first round.

Carrasco came with a formidable 13 KOs from his 16 wins but the threat was all in the gloves of Purdy who matched his trademark willingness to throw leather with an ever-improving defence and an intensity that paid off when hard-hitting rounds two and three took their toll on Carrasco.

Purdy floored him in the fourth with a big right in the fourth and refused to let him off the hook, a body shot scoring a second knockdown before the referee stepped in with Purdy pinning the Argentine on the ropes and not letting him go.

It was a night of knockout drama in north London with Erick Ochieng successfully defending his English light middleweight title, growing into a battle with southpaw Ryan Toms to stop the Middlesex man in the fifth.