Frank Warren today officially announced the long awaited showdown between WBO World Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly and challenger Tony Bellew for Saturday 15th October at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
It has the potential to be the most explosive fight of the year – and of the new season – as the bitter rivals put their unbeaten records and pride on the line.
The rivalry has been building up over the last couple of years and the pair almost fought in May at the O2 Arena when Cleverly was due to face then WBO World Champion Juergen Braehmer, but the German failed to arrive and Bellew stepped in at the last minute.
They clashed at a heated press conference and had to be separated by security staff. Ultimately Bellew was beaten by the scales and Cleverly instead faced Aleksy Kuziemski and stopped him in four rounds.
The 24-year-old from Cefn Fforest in Wales has a 22-fight unbeaten record with 10 knockouts and formerly held the British and Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight titles.
He beat Nadjib Mohammedi last December to win the Interim WBO World title and was declared the full champion by the WBO when Braehmer pulled out and he made the first defence against Kuziemski.
“A fight between me and Bellew has been heating up for a long time and now he’s ready to be taught a lesson,” said Cleverly.
“He’s got a big mouth, but he can’t back it up with his fists and this time he’s talked himself into big trouble that he won’t be able to fight his way out of,”
“My blood boils when I think back to the press conference we had and he wanted to fight there and then,”
“I just wish it was him in the ring that night instead of Kuziemski, I would have knocked him, but he would have come out with excuses that he was a last minute replacement,”
“I’m happy that this time he’s had time to prepare and his weight will right and he’ll have no excuses when he’s knocked out cold by me,”
Liverpool “Bomber” Bellew, 28 is undefeated in 16 fights with nine KO’s. He won the British title in his last fight against Ovill McKenzie to add to his Commonwealth title.
“Cleverley has never knocked anybody out in his life and he’s dreaming if he thinks he going to do it to me,” Stormed Bellew.
“I’ll be fit and ready on the night and it’s the worst scenario that he could have ever wished for; I’ll give him nightmares,”
“This is the fight I’ve wanted and been banging for and now I’m going to prove all along what I’ve been saying is true,”
“I rattled him at the last press conference, he’ll deny it, but he was physically shaking and it’s still playing on his mind now,”
“He can’t beat me mentally or physically and he knows that. He may have a touch more speed, but I have plans to counter that,”
“Come October 15th, Cleverly is in for a nasty nasty shock; he’ll be in a hostile place with a hostile atmosphere that he’s never experienced,”
“Full credit to him for facing me, but this will be one of the shortest reigns by a world champion,”
Hall of Fame promoter Warren, now into his 30th year in the sport, said, “This is a fight that the fans have been waiting for and I’m delighted that it’s on,”
“It is no secret that there is very little love loss between them from their past history together,”
“I think that the fans will be in for something special when they clash on the night.”
Warren also revealed that the winner could also get a huge fight against the legendary Bernard Hopkins – the oldest boxer to ever win a win title at 46 – who defends his WBC World title against Chad Dawson on the same night.
“I’m in discussions with Hopkins’ promoter Richard Schaefer about a potential fight with the winner so it’s a massive incentive for both guys.”
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