NATHAN Cleverly has blasted his potential cruiserweight rival Tony Bellew, insisting that the Liverpool puncher’s hatred of him boils down to nothing but jealousy.
The Cefn Fforest fighter is a former WBO light heavyweight world champion and has already beaten Bellew, in his hometown.
However, that hasn’t stopped a verbal war between the pair that seems to have been going on forever, Bellew saying point blank that he “hates,” Cleverly with Nathan telling the Argus last week that a rematch is “inevitable.”
Cleverly has moved to the Matchroom stable from Frank Warren – subject to the usual wrangling with Warren adamant Cleverly remains contracted to him – and that is only likely to speed up a fight between the pair.
And Cleverly feels Bellew should be grateful for the opportunity, explaining that he knows exactly where his rivals’ anger comes from.
“It’s inevitable; we are on a collision course, no doubt as I’ve explained. He still hasn’t got over the first defeat, he wants a shot at redemption and do I give him that chance?
“To be honest, I don’t really need to give him a chance. I could just walk away with my 1-0 victory and be content. But I’m a fighter and I’m prepared to re-match, I am looking forward to making it 2-0.
“I can understand why he hates me, from his point of view, I get it.
“Tony Bellew is someone who eats, sleeps and breathes boxing and someone like me, who was a student and went to university and got a degree and kind of combined it with the boxing that gets to him.
“I became world champion and beat Tony Bellew when I was kind of a part-time boxer and that hurts him. For someone part-time who became a fighter; that hurts him so much.
“At 24-years of age, in his hometown, I beat him as a part-time fighter and it really kills him.
“He hasn’t got over that defeat, but he needs to deal with it. And when I beat him a second time, I don’t want any drama or excuses from him.
“I’ll be better than I was last time when we fight and I can only see one outcome, next time I will obliterate Tony Bellew.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn wants the rematch to happen in 2014.
“A lot of people say Bellew v Cleverly would be a better fight, a bigger draw, with them both as world champions, but I don’t take much notice of that,” he told the Argus.
“When is that going to happen? How can you know you’ll get those circumstances? Let’s just do it over the next six to eight months, now is the time.
“They are both taking the steps into cruiserweight and we can just build the fight bigger and bigger. I’m looking at November for it, unless a world title opportunity comes up beforehand.
“It’s the biggest fight from a crowd and ratings perspective.”