'Rocky' actor Bellew wins title, turns fantasy into reality

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) British boxer Tony Bellew turned a Hollywood fantasy into reality by becoming a world champion for the first time on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Bellew recovered from being sent to the canvas in the first round by knocking out Ilunga Makabu in the third round to win the WBC cruiserweight title. Bellew lost two world title attempts at light-heavyweight, against Nathan Cleverly in 2011 and Adonis Stevenson in 2013.

Bellew played the role of world champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan in "Creed," the seventh installment in the "Rocky" series that was released last year. The climax to the movie saw Bellew's character beat Adonis Johnson - the son of Apollo Creed - in a world light-heavyweight fight at Everton's Goodison Park stadium, the Premier League soccer club that Bellew has supported since he was a child.