Cleverly Says Fight with Bellew Is a Grudge Match

nathan-cleverly-856008026On Saturday afternoon, November 22, one of the biggest days in boxing will take place as an eagerly anticipated rematch between former Light Heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (28-1, 14 KO’s) and former two-time championship challenger Tony Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KO’s) airs exclusively and live on AWE.

The 12-round Cruiserweight World Title eliminator bout will originate from the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England and will be broadcast LIVE in the United States on AWE-A Wealth of Entertainment at 1 PM ET / 10 PM PT
Although Cleverly one the first bout, he knows that not only does he need a win but knows that it will be a crowd pleasing affair.
“We have history, it’s a grudge match,”said Cleverly.  “The first fight was an excellent fight and the reason why this rematch is happening is not only is it a rivalry and we don’t like each other, but the first fight was an excellent battle.  I won the fight, got the decision, but it was a close fight, got the decision, but it was a close fight so people want to see it again.  I want to fight him again, because I want to silence him once and for all.”
That animosity stems up from before their first battle when at a press conference, Cleverly thought Bellew became disrespectful to the then WBO Light Heavyweight champion.
“We just clash,” said Cleverly. “At the end of the day, I am a winner and in the first press conference I was World champion and he came in with this attitude. I was sat at the table and he kind of looked at me and said something and he got under my skin straight away.

“That fight was set up as a big fight. The press conferences, the clash, the grudge match, it was a ferocious build-up. More importantly though, we both delivered on the night. I delivered a good solid performance and Tony Bellew gave it everything. He threw the kitchen sink at me that night, that was his big chance and it made for an excellent fight.

“I had the phone call saying; ‘Nathan, you’re fighting Tony Bellew on October 15’, and I remember thinking ‘that’s only seven weeks away.’ So the build-up wasn’t ideal, I want at least ten weeks for a proper training camp. It is difficult going into a fight knowing that you haven’t had a proper camp but I got on with it, I didn’t make excuses at the time, I just said to myself: ‘I’m World champion, let’s defend my title in his hometown’. That’s what a proper champion does and that is what I did.

Cleverly thought he was through with his Light Heavyweight rival, but when both suffered knockout losses (Cleverly losing his title to Sergey Kovaelv while Bellew was stopped by WBC champion Adonis Stevenson) both decided to move up in weight.
“At the final bell when we embraced he said: ‘Forget doing that again, forget doing that again’. I gave him the hardest fight he’s ever had to go through. It was a tough fight, he was on his last legs – he was spent. He says he had weight issues and he was drained but he gave everything that night, he had nothing else in the tank.”
Cleverly’s personal redemption is that he is looking to get back on top.  This time in the Cruiserweight division and a second win over his rival will go a long way into that coming to fruition.
“There’s an incredible amount riding on this fight,” said Cleverly. “It’s personal between us but I know what will happen to the winner. This fight is a gateway to a World title shot and the chance for me to make that two-weight World champion dream a reality. That rarely happens in boxing, only the best fighters achieve it so for me to go on and do it, that’s what dreams are made of.

“I can’t imagine myself losing and it hasn’t crossed my mind because I am so confident of winning. I cannot allow this guy to beat me.

“I wouldn’t say I hate him. He hates me, there’s no doubt about that. He hates me because I’ve beaten him and I’ve been a World champion.”

Because of the first win, Cleverly has the confidence that makes him a favorite to make it two in a row against Bellew.
“I will win this fight because I am all round a better fighter than him. I believe I am a faster puncher than Tony Bellew, I have more energy, more speed and more stamina. Yes, maybe I don’t have the one-punch KO power he carries, but he’s hit me clean with that at Light Heavyweight where he was taking people out, and it didn’t bother me. He may punch harder at Cruiserweight but I’m bigger and stronger. My chin is better, there’s more energy in my legs. So if I can gather the speed, the stamina, the energy levels, the punch variety and the combinations and bring it all up to Cruiserweight, it will be too much for this guy.”
Two co-main events feature two WBA world title bouts. Scott Quigg will make the 5th defense of the WBA Super Bantamweight title against Hidenori Otake of Tokyo, Japan. Also co-featured is two-time Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell defending the WBA Bantamweight title against Javier Chacon of Argentina..
If that is not enough, then boxing fans are in for a terrific treat as two-time world title challenger George Groves takes on American Denis Douglin. The card also features undefeated British prospect Callum Smith as he sets to battle former world title challenger Nikola Sjekloca. Heavyweight and undefeated 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner Anthony Joshua takes on 64-fight veteran Michael Sprott.
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