On 12 March 2010 Tony Bellew challenged for the vacant Commonwealth title at light heavyweight beating Atoli Moore at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. He made his first defence of the title on 24 September 2010 winning a hard fought victory against Bob Ajisafe at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Mayfair with Bellew having to recover from a flash knockdown during the fight.
He made his second defence of the title on 9 December 2010, returning to the Echo Arena to stop former Commonwealth champion Ovill McKenzie in the 8th round despite suffering two knockdowns himself in the fight in both the 1st and 2nd rounds. On 18 May 2011 it was announced that Bellew would challenge Nathan Cleverly for the WBO light heavyweight title following a pullout from Cleverly's scheduled opponent Jürgen Brähmer with the fight due to be held only three days later on the 21 May 2011. Bellew however, failed to make the weight and was replaced with Polish boxer Aleksy Kuziemski.
On 16 July 2011 Bellew made the third defence of his Commonwealth title and also won the vacant British belt with a repeat victory over Ovill McKenzie, with the bout this time lasting the full 12 rounds.