On this exact date three years ago, the then both undefeated Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew fought each other in an action-packed and razor-thin fight at the Excell Arena in Liverpool, England. After twelve grueling rounds, Cleverly managed to keep his WBO light-heavyweight title with a controversial twelve-round majority decision victory.
Three years later, both fighters are preparing for their long-awaited rematch. The fight that is billed as ‘Repeat or Revenge’ will take place on November 22, on Sky Box Office [Sky’s PPV channel] and will be at the same venue as their first encounter.
For both fighters a lot have changed in those three years. After a few more defenses of his WBO title against questionable opposition, Cleverly was demolished in four rounds by Sergey Kovalev in August last year.
Meanwhile, frustrated because he didn’t get the chance to avenge his only loss, Bellew decided to leave Frank Warren and joined Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport. After wins over Edison Miranda and Isaac Chilemba, Bellew got his second title shot in November last year. In a fight in which Bellew was completely outclassed, he was stopped in the sixth round by Adonis Stevenson.
Earlier this year, Cleverly made the same promotional move that Bellew made two years ago. And with both fighters now campaigning in the cruiserweight division, the rematch became inevitable.
For Bellew, this fight is a do-or-die situation. He feels that he has to win this fight in order to keep his career alive, and therefore has decided to make a big sacrifice, as he moved his training camp to Yorkshire, leaving his kids at home.
“It is an heartbreaking time, but it is not as heartbreaking as losing this fight,” Bellew told Sky Sports. “This is a must win fight. I’ll do it at any expense. I’ll spent a year away if needed be. I have to win this fight.”
Promotor and former trainer Dave Coldwell has decided to put the pads back on to make sure Bellew succeeds in his rematch against Cleverly. Coldwell explained to Sky Sports, “Bellew is a good fighter, but he makes mistakes when he is trying to attack. I want to take his mistakes away and want to make him technically a little better.”
Come fight night, Cleverly will be the more imposing figure in the ring. As Bellew himself admitted, “If you compare his body to mine, he wins hands down.” But Bellew quickly added, “I got bad news for him, bodies don’t win fights.”
As already mentioned, ‘Revenge or Repeat’ will be on PPV in the United Kingdom. Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports has received a lot of criticism from fight fans for this, and in my eyes deservingly so. This is a domestic fight between two fighters who have clearly proven that they do not belong on the elite-level.
With that being said, Clevery vs Bellew II should be an action-packed and competitive fight. And with an undercard that is shaping up nicely, we can expect a good night of boxing.