Bellew makes good on promise to destroy McIntosh with stunning fifth-round KO
22:30 GMT, 27 April 2012
Tony Bellew reignited his world title chances with a devastating fifth-round TKO of Danny McIntosh to regain his British light-heavyweight crown at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
Bellew, out of action since losing his unbeaten record to Nathan Cleverly at the same venue for the WBO 175lb title in October last year, shook off the ring rust with a clinical performance in front of his hometown fans.
Bellew knocked down the challenger in round four and a brilliant overhand right ended the contest immediately after.
Bomber: Tony Bellew impressed as he defeated Danny McIntosh
The Bomber improved his record to 17-1, with 11 knockouts, and he will surely be champing at the bit for another shot on the world stage.
A return bout with Cleverly is perhaps the most obvious choice but Bellew insisted prior to Friday's fight that the Welshman has thus far shown little interest in engaging hostilities once more.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old has not let future lucrative bouts affect his preparation in his build-up to facing McIntosh, who fell to 13-3.
Bellew labelled his domestic rival 'pathetic' for failing to turn up to Wednesday's press conference and vowed to make him pay in a bout that was supposed to take place two weeks ago but was suspended after McIntosh picked up a chest infection.
No coming back: Bellew delivered a devastating knock-out blow
After a tentative opening in which both men landed decent right hands, Bellew stepped up his effort to deliver on his promise.
The Liverpudlian used his accurate jab to good effect and landed several crisp combinations before an overhand right hand towards the end of round two staggered McIntosh, who barely survived as Bellew went for the kill.
The champion was landing at will in the third round and McIntosh took to spitting out his gumshield after another concussive right hand found its mark.
Feel the force: Bellew (right) looked in impressive form against McIntosh
He was down in round four after being pummelled along the ropes, but Bellew was denied the chance to end the fight by the bell once again.
McIntosh would not be saved a third time as Bellew ended an explosive contest with a tremendous finish.
Lunging forward, McIntosh left himself wide open and Bellew took advantage in clinical fashion with a right hand that sent the 32-year-old sprawling, with referee Terry O'Connor calling an immediate halt to proceedings 38 seconds into the round.