The Rocky story came true in Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. Tony Bellew got up of the floor, defied the odds, and beat Ilunga Makabu to claim the WBC Cruiserweight title.
The Liverpudlian has split opinion over recent years, but you couldn’t help but be happy for the Rocky star after he claimed a World title at the third time of asking.
Irish cruiser Ian Tims may have been one of those happy for the trash talking and loud puncher, but upon seeing Bellew buckle the famous green strap around his waist he may have had some ‘what might have been’ thoughts.
‘The Tank’ and Bellew’s pro careers are not comparable. Tims hasn’t earned the same kind of money, hasn’t won or even fought for the same kind of titles and certainly hasn’t reached the pinnacle of the sport.
However, there was a time when Tims wasn’t only on a par with the new World champ, but proved himself better than Bellew.
Back in their amateur days the pairs paths crossed come Four Nations time and ‘Timsey’, whose career has stuttered through injury and a lack of opportunities, emerged victorious as both went to war over 10 years ago.
By all accounts the then heavyweight amateurs went at it toe to toe for three rounds with the then Irish champion emerging victorious.
The current BUI Celtic Champion discussed the bout with irish-boxing.com before Bellew’s World title success recalling,
“It was in a Four Nations tournament. I beat Tony Bellew and then lost to Simms in the final. Simms got a by to the final, but I had a war with Bellew in the semi.
“They were two cracking fights. The one with Tony was an absolute war, probably the hardest fight I ever had as a amateur or pro. It was just an all out digging match, from start to finish we went at it. It was a great scrap and a great scrap I won.”
“I don’t begrudge the success Bellew has had, but I know what I can do when fit and it is a bit of a pity I didn’t get the chances he did. I am no Floyd Mayweather, but ask Tony and I know he won’t forget that scrap we had. You do think sometimes ‘what if’, but what can you do only get on with things.”