Home Boxing News Sky Sports panel give their predictions ahead of Tony Bellew vs BJ...

Sky Sports panel give their predictions ahead of Tony Bellew vs BJ Flores

WBC World Cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew has vowed to shut BJ Flores up in style when they clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

Bellew landed the WBC title in a fairy tale night at Everton’s Goodison Park when he got off the canvas in the first round to defeat the dangerous South African Ilunga Makabu in the third round.

American BJ Flores has chased a fight with Tony Bellew for some time and he finally has his chance, but what chance does he have of winning? – Over to the Sky Sports panel.

Darren Barker

“Flores’ main attribute is his toughness and how well he takes a shot. The fact he has never been stopped gives him a chance but that’s about it. I just think Bellew in front of his home fans, he has the momentum, confidence and everything is on his side. It will take someone special to beat him, and BJ Flores isn’t that man.

“It will be an entertaining fight because of Flores’ toughness and ability to take a good shot, but the class is there with Tony and he will be the first man to stop Flores. I think Flores knows deep down that Bellew is a class above.”

Johnny Nelson

“This is my old division so I am looking at it through cruiserweight eyes and already, Flores looks like a light-heavyweight to me. Even if he trained full-on, was in great shape, I’d just look at him and think ‘there’s no way you beat me, little man’ and I think Bellew’s thinking exactly the same.

“I actually like Flores but I just can’t see him causing Bellew a problem. He is a tall, strong, skilled cruiserweight. His jab, his height and reach are different class so I am leaning towards Bellew – heavily. He’ll stop him early in the second half of the fight.”

Adam Booth

“I think a lot of it depends on how prepared BJ is physically and only he knows that. If he has prepared fully and is in good shape then it is a lot closer fight than people think. Much, much closer. Flores was the sparring partner who cut David Haye before his first world title defence against John Ruiz, so it was good sparring that’s for sure.

“We know Tony will lift himself into good shape and is as motivated as anyone and will keep going, keep fighting and ultimately I think that desire, that determination that raw guts and hardness will mean Bellew pulls away in the late part of the fight. Points seem more likely, but it could even be a late stoppage.”

Paul Smith

“If I’m honest, when I saw him at the press conference on Monday, Flores looked like he was already beaten. He was a different fighter to the one that called him out and talked about game plans. He was just much quieter and I think you could see the fear straight away.

“He probably thought he was much bigger up against Bellew but he is more of a light-heavyweight and I think it’s all dawned on him. He is a strong lad on the inside but he hasn’t got the power to trouble Bellew early on. We know anything can happen in boxing but I can see Bellew really putting on a show on Saturday night, winning via a mid-to-late stoppage.”

Jamie Moore

“Flores has got a chance but only a very small one. We know styles make fights and I’ve got to say Flores is tailor-made for Bellew. On top of that, we clearly saw Bellew doesn’t like him at all and I just think we are going to see the champion put on a cracking performance.

“Down the years, we have seen fighters reach the pinnacle of their career by winning the world title, but then they kick on and I think we are going to see that with Tony. He is a big puncher and a massive cruiserweight as well and even the head-to-head showed just what Flores is in against. Bellew is going to win and win in style, in six rounds.”

David Coldwell

“One thing we must understand is that Flores is an underrated fighter, he has a very good jab and boxing brain, while he throws a powerful right and left hook. The history of boxing is littered with upsets and Flores has a chance to cause one himself, that’s the beauty of sport.

“The thing with BJ, he is in the same position that we were in before Makabu, coming off a couple of failed world title shots and this is his last attempt, he’s an underdog like we were and has got to put it all on the line.”

Tickets

Tickets are on sale now via www.echoarena.com or by calling 0844 8000 400 priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150. VIP tickets will be available exclusively from www.matchroomboxing.com