Ilunga Makabu has recovered from his devastating defeat in his most recent fight, saying he is ready to get back into the ring.
The 28-year-old fighter from the Democratic Republic of Congo suffered an embarrassing third-round knockout defeat at the hands of Englishman Tony Bellew for the World Boxing Council cruiserweight title at Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool in May.
Fighting before thousands of partisan Everton FC fans, Makabu knocked down homespun hero Bellew at the end of the opening round.
But the Englishman got up and subjected Makabu to a barrage of left hooks that eventually forced the referee to stop the fight in the third stanza.
So hurt and out-of-sorts was Makabu, he had to be attended to by ringside doctors.
But Makabu said he had recuperated and was fit and raring to bounce back.
“I have spent about four months nursing myself after my defeat under the watchful eyes of my family. I am feeling great now and am ready to bounce into the ring and win fights,” said Makabu.
Makabu admitted to being hurt by Bellew’s punches during their encounter, saying he was now in “fine fettle”.
“I’ve started doing light training at our gym in Linksfield. I believe I will win a world title soon because I still have the potential.”
Makabu has an impressive record of 21 fights, wherein he won 18 of his 19 wins by knockouts, with only two defeats. His trainer Damien Durandt said it was premature to write his man off: “Ilunga has a great future ahead of him and will have another crack at the world title. He’s very talented and I’d like to see him being a mandatory world title challenger before he earns shot.”