Bellew dominated the game Argentine early on before being forced to change tactics, producing a measured, composed performance to frustrate Bolonti and win a wide points decision.
Sports Mole caught up with the 'Bomber' at the post-fight press conference to talk improvement, progression and chasing his world title dream in 2013!
Tony you've come through a horrendous cut and a nightmare scenario to get the victory. How do you feel about your performance?
"It was another test but I've come through some difficult spells at times so I've got to be happy. I did what I had to do because the cut coming from a punch changed everything. Knowing that I'd lose if the fight was stopped meant I had to use my brain and use different things that we've worked on. I knew the cut was serious when I went back to the corner after the third round and said to Mick, 'is it bad?' and he said 'don't you worry about the cut, worry about the boxing'. The minute he said that I knew it was horrendous."
Have you ever had to deal with anything like that in your career to date?
"I've never experienced a cut like that of any kind. Never in a million years did we anticipate anything like that to be honest. Listen, I study boxing, I've been a student of the game my whole life so I've seen what fighters do when they get cut. I was trying to use that and draw back on my own memory of what the great fighters do. I just tried to think 'stay calm, ignore the pain and just get through it'. It's painful but this is boxing and I'll never back down. You could open my whole face up and I'll keep going."
Did you feel like Bolonti stopped believing when he didn't press the fight once you were cut?
"To be honest I kept waiting for blood to get in my eye and to see red and have blurred vision, but it just weren't coming. I've got to put that down to Mick Williamson, he stemmed the flow of blood. Mick deserves my purse tonight to be honest. In those situations you've just got to man up because let me tell you, I won't back off, I'll go for the kill. I understand why Bolonti backed off, he was feeling every shot I landed. His nose must be real sore from the jabs, he's gonna have headaches for a while and he's probably gonna be passing blood as well to be honest."
Did the referee tell you at the end the sixth that he was going to get the doctor in if it got any worse?
"Yes and that worried me. All I asked him for, and I ask every referee the same, is give me every opportunity that I can possibly have to carry on. Listen, I've got a family at home and I just want it to be fair. I asked him to stick to his word and to be fair to him he gave me that chance. If I was getting caught with heavy shots on that eye then I believe he would've stopped it but I used my nous to come through. I tried to be exciting and go for the kill but when things happen I showed the ability to change the game completely. Not many fighters can do that - there's a lot of one-dimensional guys out there - but I've showed I can change the gameplan."
Any idea what could be next in 2013?
"Winning tonight kinds of puts me in an interim champion position with the WBC so it means I'm on the tail of Chad Dawson now. I've got no problem going in with Dawson. I'll be honest, I think he's the best light heavyweight in the world but I believe that I could do him. I'll let this cut get better, get back to the gym and keep trying to progress. I'll fight anyone, I just want to find out how good I am."
How are you finding this new way of trying to progress in 2012, fighting more regularly and attempting to secure a title shot by moving up the rankings?
"Listen I can't explain to you how happy I am. In the past I've been left for six months at a time, I don't know when I'm fighting. Half of the fighters in my city and my mates don't even know when they'll be back in the ring. I'm being given three dates in advance and that's all we want as fighters, to be out on a regular basis and earn a living. I don't want any handouts, I don't want to fight crabs, I just want to go in and fight good guys on a regular basis. I'll fight anybody, I don't care who it is, I'm just happy and I want to be ready and prepared to go again in February at the Echo Arena."
Do you feel like having a long-term plan helps drive you on in training and helps you get up for the fights because you know the reward at the end of the line?
"Without doubt, I've got a family at home and you only get paid when you fight. I'd fight 20 times a year if I could. I'm trying to secure their future and the sooner I do that, the better."