Bellew is ’emeritus champion’ not full cruiserweight title holder

The WBC has confirmed that Tony Bellew is now “emeritus champion” and no longer holds the full title at cruiserweight under their governing body.

'The Bomber' stepped up to heavyweight earlier this month to stop David Haye in a sensational upset but is facing a five-month lay-off after sustaining a hand injury which could require surgery.

With Bellew expected to stay in the top division, the WBC has decided to alter his status as champion, meaning Marco Huck and Mairis Briedis will battle for the full WBC cruiserweight title in Dortmund on April 1.

A statement from the WBC read: "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.

"This scenario might keep him from defending his cruiserweight title in some time, reason for which the WBC Board of Governors unanimously voted to designate him as emeritus champion of the world, which grants him the right to fight for the cruiserweight championship at any given time with full support from the WBC while maintaining his rights as world champion.

"The WBC hereby confirms that the fight between Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck will be for the WBC cruiserweight championship of the world and the winner will abide by the ruling of the WBC board regarding the mandatory defences."

Bellew claimed the WBC belt after a third round knockout of Ilunga Makabu in May and has defended it once with a stoppage win over BJ Flores in October.