Former WBO light-heavyweight world champion Nathan Cleverly is set for a rematch with Tony Bellew three years after their initial bout in Liverpool back in October 2011.
According to Riath Al-Samarrai of MailOnline, Cleverly’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, “has plans for Cleverly to fight Bellew in the winter.”
Though the pair will do battle as cruiserweights this time around, the amount of love lost will remain the same: none.
Cleverly and Bellew famously clashed at their pre-fight press conference before 2011’s battle, which Cleverly won via a majority decision, and have recently taken to social media to keep their latest row up with the times, as Boxing 4 The Fans revealed via Twitter:
Nathan Cleverly & Tony Bellew look like they could be taking their rivalry up to cruiserweight pic.twitter.com/g4VElH3dJx— BOXING 4 THE FANS (@BOXINGPAGE) March 16, 2014
Cleverly's shock decision to part company with Frank Warren and join Bellew in the Matchroom Sport stable has made the rematch inevitable, as Main Event Boxing's Twitter account reflected on:
Early morning reports suggest that Nathan Cleverly has jumped ship to sign for Matchroom! Surely the Bellew 2 fight is on the cards #DW— Main Event Boxing (@UKMEB) March 27, 2014
Bellew successfully made his cruiserweight debut against Valery Brudov on Saturday, and has since been calling out for a rematch with his Welsh rival in every other breath.
Cleverly watched the fight at home, and was somewhat amused by “Bomber’s” antics, provoking him to hit back immediately, per SkySports:
I was watching at home and was actually laughing at the TV. It's all good fun and I take it with a pinch of salt basically. But when it happens, he's going to get spanked again. I am going to destroy this guy when we fight again.
The 27-year-old’s last fight resulted in him losing his light-heavyweight title to Sergey Kovalev back in August, and following a break from the game, an announcement from promoter Hearn as to his return to action is expected on Thursday afternoon—as reported by Al-Samarrai for MailOnline:
“Promoter Eddie Hearn will announce on Thursday afternoon that Cleverly will feature against an unnamed opponent on his May 17 bill in Cardiff.”
Despite Cleverly’s response to Bellew’s cruiserweight debut, the 31-year-old looked in imperious form against the impressive Brudov on Saturday, and took him down in the second and the sixth rounds before a stoppage gave him a late victory.
With Cleverly’s lack of world-class boxing action over the last few months and Bellew making a seemingly effortless step up to cruiserweight, fortune may just favour the Brit.
He had won his first 16 professional fights in a row before Cleverly knocked him down a few pegs, and has lost just one match since then, to Adonis Stevenson in November 2013 (statistics via BoxRec.com).
If he can find a way to continue such form against the out-of-practice Welshman, then Bellew will finally take back the bragging rights that have caused three years of agony out of his possession.