Bellotti defeats Dillon in display of ‘violent magic’

The action was wonderfully chaotic as Watford’s Reece Bellotti and Chingford’s Liam Dillon shared 12 tumultuous rounds in London.

In the end, Bellotti took a deserved decision on all three cards, adding the British super-featherweight title to his Commonwealth belt by scores of 117-112, 117-111 and 116-112.

The 33-year-old Bellotti, coming off a quality win over 12-0 Aqib Fiaz last October, improved to 17-5 (14 KOs) while Dillon dropped to 13-0-1 (3 KOs).

“It’s my whole life building to this moment, I always wanted the British title, and what a fucking fight,” said a thrilled Bellotti. “What a war. It’s what everyone wanted and it’s what we gave them.” 

The first round was, as many predicted, a breathless affair and in the second round Dillon was bombing forwards but 33-year-old Bellotti was happy to engage without giving much ground.

Dillon trapped Bellotti momentarily on the ropes in the third and landed with both hands and both had pockets of success, working in close and keeping the volume high and the attacks well varied.

The Jim McDonnell-trained Bellotti was aggressive opening the fourth, landing crisp right uppercuts and left hooks that made their mark but Dillon still swarmed forwards, even though he shrugged off another good right hand halfway through the session. 

There was more trench warfare in the fifth and sixth, with neither showing signs of slowing but perhaps Bellotti’s power giving him the edge at the halfway mark.

A seventh-round right uppercut-left hook from Bellotti couldn’t slow Dillon, but one had to wonder whether Dillon might start to slow if he ate too many clean shots, and finally Dillon gave a little ground.

The crowd gasped at the action and Dillon gulped down another right uppercut and battled back, but the seventh was possibly the first round you could have marked clearly in favour of either fighter, and it was Bellotti’s.

Bellotti was setting up shots behind his right uppercut. Dillon was attacking low, almost presenting himself for the punch and while Bellotti momentarily pinned Dillon on the ropes, Dillon fired his way off them and they set about each other once more.

Bellotti waded in with both hands but Dillon moved to smother as momentum seemed to shift somewhat convincingly towards Bellotti.

“He’s going to run out of ideas,” McDonnell told Bellotti of his opponent before the ninth.

The pace was relentless, but Dillon seemed to be feeling it more and, as per McDonnell, Dillon was looking more one-dimensional. 

A big right hook thudded off Dillon’s head near the close of the 10th. The crowd at the Indigo O2 in London was rocking, thrilled by what they were watching – which was called “violent magic” by Darren Barker on commentary for DAZN.

Dillon did some smart work to box off the ropes in the 11th and he thumped home a right towards the end of the round. He even surged forwards again in the last, landing a cracking left hook. Unsurprisingly, they were still scrapping like rock ‘em sock ‘em robots when the bell sounded to signal the end of the fight.

“The better man one tonight,” lamented Dillon.