Everton fanatic Tony "Bomber" Bellew will have the opportunity to win his first world title on sacred ground after official confirmation that he is set to fight on the pitch at Goodison Park on Sunday 29 May. The 33-year-old, who became European champion by outpointing Mateusz Masternak on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's grudge match against Dillian Whyte in December 2015, is set to challenge southpaw knockout specialist Ilunga Makabu for the vacant WBC cruiserweight belt.
This will be Bellew's third attempt at becoming a world title-holder, with his previous two attempts coming at light-heavyweight. In October 2011, he challenged Nathan Cleverly for his WBO strap but lost via majority decision after a fierce war of attrition at the Echo Arena. He travelled to Quebec two years later to take on Canada's Adonis Stevenson, but was eventually stopped inside the distance for the first time in his career.
"I haven't slept all night mate because now it's done," Bellew told Radio City Talk on Tuesday (19 April). "I am fighting at Goodison Park on May 29, under the lights. On a bank holiday Sunday, never been done before. Myself, Eddie Hearn and the chairman have got this together. It was on the verge of falling through and we sat down in a room and looked at the possible dates and I said to them listen, I know this is a gamble but trust me... Liverpool comes alive on a bank holiday.'"
He later added a small caveat, saying: "We also need one more thing from the council but I'm pretty sure the council are behind us massively. Most things have been given and approved, it's just one more minute thing left to do but I don't see that being an issue whatsoever at all."
May should prove to be a very enjoyable month for fight fans, with Amir Khan set to embark upon his greatest test to date with a bout against WBC middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the newly-built T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Anthony Crolla defends his WBA lightweight crown on the same night against the big-punching Venezuelan Ismael Barroso, while Dereck Chisora travels to Hamburg for an IBF eliminator and European heavyweight title fight with Kubrat Pulev.
Lee Haskins also puts his IBF bantamweight title on the line against Ivan Morales, WBC heavyweight king Deontay Wilder takes on Alexander Povetkin in Moscow and David Haye continues his comeback against Arnold Gjergjaj. Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam also compete for a shot at Anthony Joshua and Ricky Burns fights Michele Di Rocco for the vacant WBA super-lightweight belt.