122kg, 201cm tall ex-AFL star Tom Bellchambers caused a stir in the boxing world with a stunning win on his debut – and next could be a surprise rugby league contender.
The 33-year-old Essendon player, who made 136 lifetime games, has been a team powerhouse in his 13-year career and showed impressive toughness when he defeated three-time Cats premier star Cameron Mooney in the third round on the undercard of Joseph Parker knocked out Faiga Opelu’s clash on Wednesday night.
Bellchambers resisted a barrage of powerful combinations from his 43-year-old rival in the early rounds before knocking out Mooney with a devastating right-hand punch that sent the cocky Cat to the canvas and earned praise from boxing legend Tyson Fury.
And the bomber isn’t finished after his strong debut – but his next victim may not be the opponent many are expecting: NRL superstar Latrell Mitchell.
The Rabbitoh took to social media ahead of the AFL superfight to urge fans to “go ahead now” as he will fight “the winner” from Mooney vs Bellchambers.
Tom Bellchambers makes his boxing debut on Wednesday night after KOing fellow AFL player Cam Mooney
Bellchambers (left) made 136 appearances in his 13-year career with Essendon but has now made a very successful transition into the ring
NRL superstar Latrell Mitchell (right, pictured with Australian star Tim Tszyu), an unabashed boxing fan, declared he would take on the winner of the fight – but will Bellchambers accept that?
Bellchambers (right) was too good for Mooney despite holding off some of the Cats’ attacks superbly and is now keen to continue his career in the ring
But the man himself was not so convinced of the idea.
“Ahh, I’m not sure yet…we’ll see what comes next,” Bellchambers said of the prospect of fighting Mitchell after his win.
“That (boxing debut) was everything I imagined and more.”
The footy hardman said ahead of the fight that he had a “wish list” of other AFL players he wanted to fight – including fellow Tasweg native Mitch Robinson – but no-limit boxing promoter George Rose, an NRL – Cult hero in his prime, wants him to fight a rugby league star.
Surprisingly, one isn’t named Latrell Mitchell.
123kg Eels bulldozer Junior Paulo, who narrowly lost to Footy’s most famous boxing convert Paul Gallen in 2016, is considered a more likely competitor than Mitchell Fox Sports.
Other boxing powerhouses like Matt Lodge and Nelson Asofa-Solomona are also within range – and physically a much better match for Bellchambers than the comparatively diminutive Mitchell at 102kg.
Junior Paulo (right) could do better against Bellchambers. The Eels’ prop master took on Paul Gallen (left), one of football’s most famous boxing converts, in 2016 and narrowly lost
The 123kg Blues and Eels enforcer is no stranger to the ring and would make a delicious match
Mitchell, of course, is no stranger to boxing.
He can often be seen in big ringside fights and is an absolute fan of both participating in and watching the sport.
He was seen supporting Australian star Tim Tszyu backstage ahead of his win over American Tony Harrison in March and admitted last year getting into the ring was a challenge he coveted.
“As soon as I learn to throw a punch – hopefully if I can do that and don’t get 10 weeks.” [suspension] For that, we will continue from there,” he joked at the time.
“Matty [Rose] oiled me up a bit… (but) in football we have people you can rely on to help you out on the field. But when you’re in the ring, you’re alone – that’s a different mindset.
“It could be challenging and competitive, which is what I like to be and it could maybe be something in the future.”
Bellchambers weighed 122kg – a good 40kg heavier than Mitchell, who declared before the fight that he would fight the winner
Mitchell (right, pictured battling Dane Gagai in the 2021 Origin series) has often been a hitter on the pitch – but can he make it in the ring against much bigger guys?
Rose was full of praise for Bellchambers after his overwhelming victory and said he would certainly put some NRL players (read: Mitchell) back in their place.
“I know the NRL guys have long thought they were tougher than the AFL guys, but I guess a few might have sunk in their chairs watching this fight,” Rose said after the fight.
“I’m not sure there’s actually going to be too many guys who want to commit to this fight.”
“Tom (Bellchambers) recovered early from a big hit and proved he has heavy, heavy hands.” The way he fights makes the ring feel like a phone booth. You just can’t escape him.’
Bellchambers is certainly not resting on his laurels, nor is he celebrating his win too much – according to Rose he is full steam ahead.
“He said hopefully he’ll be back in the gym soon,” the No Limits promoter said of when the footy star could get back in the ring.