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Tony Bellew: WBC makes British cruiserweight its Emeritus Champion

Tony Bellew won the WBC cruiserweight title in May 2016

Tony Bellew’s WBC cruiserweight champion status has been changed as a result of potential ongoing involvement in the heavyweight division.

Bellew, 34, has held the title since May, but beat fellow Briton David Haye at heavyweight earlier this month.

As he is yet to make clear which weight he will fight at, the WBC has made him Emeritus Champion – so he can return to contest the title at any time.

Saturday’s fight between Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck will be for the title.

“Tony Bellew has become a major attraction in the heavyweight division and is at this moment uncertain of his next steps following his life changing victory,” said the WBC in a statement.

“The Emeritus Champion designation is a privilege, which has been successfully used by some of the great champions of the history of our organisation including Vitali Klitschko, Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Erik Morales and other greats.”

The WBC’s board “unanimously voted” to amend Bellew’s title status and said the Liverpudlian has “represented the WBC in the best way”.

Bellew won his first world title against Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park but, after beating BJ Flores in October, called out Haye and stopped the former WBA heavyweight champion at London’s O2 Arena earlier this month.

After the victory, Bellew stated he would consider retirement but admitted the financial rewards his next fight would likely offer would be too big to turn down.

He has stated a rematch with Haye – who is recovering from Achilles surgery – is a possibility, while bouts against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder or WBO title-holder Joseph Parker have also been touted.

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