Pound for pound king, Andre Ward, has emerged as a credible next opponent for WBO cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.

After knocking out top-ranked light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev last week, Ward was quick to talk up the prospect of moving up to heavyweight to challenge Anthony Joshua.

However, sources from Ward’s camp have stated that enthusiasm for this fight has dimmed.

Instead, Ward’s attention has focused on Tony Bellew.

Bellew has benefited from a career resurgence of late. He’s become one of the biggest draws in the heavyweight division after stopping David Haye at the beginning of 2017.

To make matters even more interesting, Bellew also remains the top cruiserweight in the world, despite a relative period of inactivity.

All of this has whetted Ward’s appetite to go up a weight division and challenge Bellew.

Firstly Ward views the fight as a particularly winnable, low-risk option. But, with the upside of picking up a new belt in a new division.

A fight with Bellew will also increase his name recognition with fans, particularly in the UK. Increasing the likelihood of a career defining fight with Anthony Joshua at a later juncture.

For his part, Bellew has stated that he’d have “no problem” in accepting a fight with Ward.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Bellew added: “He’s a great guy. If he really wants to do it I’m game, it’s as simple as that.”

“Like I say, I do respect him, he’s an amazing fighter. He’s very good at what he does.”

“But I’m a full blown, big cruiserweight. I’m not a light-heavyweight who is struggling anymore and I’ve just shown that I can deal with one of the most powerful heavyweights in the world.

“I would have no problem dealing with Andre Ward.”

Talks are apparently in the early stages between both sides. The possibility of a blockbuster matchup between the pair apparently likely at the tail end of 2017.