Cleverly set for a return to Bellew's backyard

Tony Bellew (right) has words with Nathan Cleverly after his WBO International cruiserweight title fight at the Echo Arena, Liverpool

Tony Bellew (right) has words with Nathan Cleverly after his WBO International cruiserweight title fight at the Echo Arena, Liverpool

First published in Sport

NATHAN Cleverly’s bid to finally silence long-term rival Tony Bellew will see him once again enter the Lions’ Den, the Argus understands.

The duo, whose hated rivalry shows no signs of abating, are on a collision course with a world title eliminator clash set for November.

The duo both won bouts in Liverpool earlier this month as they gear up for a cruiserweight showdown. Cleverly successfully defeated Bellew back in 2012 in defence of his WBO light heavyweight title, though Bellew claims he was robbed by the judges.

Cefn Fforest's Cleverly stopped Alejandro Emilio Valori in his latest fight, held on the same Liverpool bill Bellew beat Julio Cesar Dos Santos, though the entire evening will be remembered for ugly scenes between Cleverly and Bellew after the latter won.

Bellew has made clear that he expects the fight to be in Liverpool, his home city, just as the last battle was.

"The reason it looks like he's coming to Liverpool again is because he doesn't shift tickets in Wales," said Bellew, 31.

"It's as simple as that.

"There's not an indoor venue big enough (in Wales) and this is now turning into a big fight and we need a good venue.

"If this is big enough for the Millennium Stadium with the roof closed then I'm happy to do it there - I'm happy to go anywhere.”

However, the Argus understands that Cleverly is relaxed about the prospect of returning to Liverpool for what promises to be a proper grudge match.

"I've got genuine dislike towards him," Bellew told Radio Wales Sport this week.

"People will see this in the fight, before the fight and after the fight.

"There will be no embrace after the fight and there will be no pleasantries after the fight.

"I'll beat him, I'll stop him and I'll finish him. I will end his career.”

Cleverly has vowed to inflict another defeat on bitter his rival and insists Bellew’s hatred of him comes down to pure jealousy.

“I believe at the end of this year, or probably at the start of 2015, I will be in line for a shot at the world title,” said Cleverly.

“I wanted to get this job done on Alejandro Valori and first and foremost it was important I won that fight in good fashion. Then we will look for that big domestic grudge match between myself and Bellew and when I bash him up we will be looking for the world title fight then.

“I think it is realistic that my next fight will be Bellew. It is a big fight and maybe it should happen sooner rather than later - strike while the iron is hot.

"We are both fresh at the weight and both coming off two wins in the weight division. It would be the type of fight where the winner goes on to fight for the world title.

“My verdict on the first fight was that I was 24 years of age, I went into his hometown, defending my world title and I successfully did that,” said Cleverly.

“There is no question in my mind, I certainly won the fight and the verdict was there, that was the final result. But he feels bitter at the loss, he wants his revenge, but ultimately I want the rematch because I want to not just win the rematch but I want to win emphatically, and I feel I will do that in the next fight.

“I think the new weight will suit both of us better. I feel we will be stronger, have more energy, more power, so I think the fight will be a replica of the first fight but a lot more explosive with the added weight.

“Tony is jealous of me for being a world champion and has issues with the fact I beat him when I was a part-time boxer and a full-time student. He only has boxing, so I understand that anger.”

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