Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew II on tap
A deal is close for a cruiserweight rematch between former light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly and English countryman Tony Bellew, promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport announced on Monday.
“We are almost there. Having been originally set for Dec. 6, we are now finalizing a new date and venue and I hope to have the deal tied up this week,” said Hearn via release. “This is a wonderful fight, two great fighters with a genuine rivalry that will keep fans on their toes in and outside the ring. I can’t wait for this fight and, of course, the build-up.”
Since rising to the 200-pound division, Cleverly (28-1, 14 knockouts) has scored stoppage wins over Shawn Corbin in the second round and Alejandro Emilio Valori in the fourth round in May and July, respectively.
The victories helped Cleverly, 27, rebound after being dethroned as WBO light heavyweight titleholder following a fourth round stoppage loss to Sergey Kovalev in Aug. 2013.
Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KOs) is 6-1-1 with four knockouts since losing the WBO title to Cleverly in October 2011 via majority decision.
“I’ve always said I will fight him anytime, anywhere. The result will be the same as before – a Nathan Cleverly victory. The only slight change this time is I doubt he will hear the final bell,” said Cleverly. “I’m excited for the fight. It will capture the public’s imagination and become a huge event. I’m looking forward to making it 2-0 and moving on to a shot at the title.”
Since becoming a cruiserweight, Bellew, 31, has scored knockouts over Valery Brudov in the 12th round in March and Julio Cesar Dos Santos in fifth round in July.
Bellew last suffered defeat by sixth round stoppage to RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last November.
“I don’t just want to beat him; I want to finish him. [Cleverly] won’t want to get in the ring ever again after our fight,” said Bellew. “Putting the record straight means more to me than a world title. I’m going to put myself through hell in camp and picture his face during every moment. I cannot wait.”