Boxing: Cleverly to face Bellew

WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly will defend his title against Tony Bellew in October.

Boxing News: Nathan Cleverly

Bellew was granted a shock world title shot at Cleverly in May and engaged in a fiery press conference, only to pull out hours later as he could not make the weight.

Cleverly went onto defend his belt against Poland's Aleksy Kuziemski inside four rounds, but will now belatedly come toe-to-toe with Bellew on October 15 at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

While the bout takes place in Bellew's home town, the 24-year-old insists the venue will make no difference to the result.

"It wasn't really much of a tough decision [to fight in Liverpool] really," he said.

"I had the choice where I wanted the fight. I could have had it in Wales or up in Liverpool.

"We were struggling to find the right venue in Wales with the right capacity for the fight so at the end of the day if it is in Liverpool it will be a good sell.

"I thought it was a guaranteed sell-out anyway and it is a boxing ring.

"Whether it was set up in here today, in Liverpool or Wales it makes no difference to the outcome of the fight.

"It is still Tony Bellew and I am still the world champion going in there.

"And I am pretty sure wherever it is I will beat this guy."

Cleverly comes into the fight undefeated in 22 professional bouts, while Bellew has won 16 without loss.

The Caerphilly-born fighter is confident of returning from the "lion's den" with his record intact and believes Bellew is fortunate to get a world title shot.

"There has been a bit of a grudge developing over the years," he said.

"It has been pretty inevitable because I turned pro at such a young age.

"I won the Commonwealth, British and European titles and now Tony is at this stage where I was a few years back.

"He is about six fights behind me but he has got his shot early.

"Does he really deserve a world title shot? No, but it is a fight that I want to get out the way.

"I want to get this fight out the way and move on to bigger things."

Speaking at the pre-fight press conference, fight promoter Frank Warren revealed that the winner could face WBC light heavyweight champion boxer Hopkins.

The 46-year-old will face Chad Dawson on October 15 in a night that Warren described as being "momentous" for the light heavyweight division.

Warren revealed talks are ongoing with Hopkins' promoter Richard Schaefer to British soil should the American win, which he believes will help spur the fighters on.

"This is a tough fight for both of them but there is something there for them afterwards," he said.

"It is a big, big opportunity to go and do the business. It doesn't get any better than that.

"This is a lively division and it is going to get livelier."

He added: "When I asked Nathan about this fight, he said it was a fight he wanted to get it out of the way.

"It has been hanging around, a lot of things have been said and to prove to the point he said he would go into the other guy's back garden to show he can do it.

"Obviously Tony has other ideas about that. He fancies his chances and is the British and Commonwealth champion following in the footsteps of Nathan.

"We have got a big fight that is going be on and one that I am certainly looking forward to.

"I think there is going to be a lot of fireworks building up the fight and certainly on the night."



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