Tony Bellew has warned Ilunga Makabu that he expects to cry “tears of joy” when the pair meet for the vacant WBC world cruiserweight belt on May 29.
Bellew heads into the fight at Goodison Park on the back of six straight victories and seems more comfortable in his current division after stepping up from light-heavyweight following his defeat to Adonis Stevenson in 2013.
Next month sees him face Makabu in what he believes will be a career-defining fight at the home of his beloved Everton football club.
His Congolese opponent is a tricky-looking customer, though, and has won his 18 bouts since losing on his professional debut back in 2008.
Makabu has only been taken the distance once in that time and has predicted that he will have the power and the skill to reduce Bellew to tears in front of his home crowd.
However, Bellew has promised his opponent that nothing will stop him from becoming world champion.
Bellew told Sky Sports: “I’d like to wish him luck in preparation but I’ve heard all this before. I heard it from Isaac Chilemba – that I’d end up crying. Once again, there were only tears of joy.
“May 29 will be my night. I will be victorious. I don’t know how or when but it’d take a rocket launcher and 20 men to beat me at Goodison Park on that night.
He added: “I’ve won an awful lot in my career and it’s all set for this night. I’ll become world champion.”
Despite his optimism, Bellew is the current 2.40 underdog, the draw is 23.00 and Makabu is the 1.57 favourite.