Is Nathan too ‘Cleverly’ for Tony Bellew?
By Ian Aldous: As you can probably tell from the title of this article, I’m looking at the possible domestic grudge match between WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion, Nathan Cleverly (22-0-0) and Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight Champion, Tony Bellew (15-0-0).
Personally it’s a fight that I’d like to see at some point in the future, I emphasize the word ‘future’. It’s been no secret to British boxing fans that Bellew clearly dislikes Nathan and whole-heartedly believes that he can beat him. The fight almost took place last week following the late withdrawal of previous WBO Champion, Jurgen Braehmer (36-2-0). Who was due to defend against Cleverly. Tony Bellew stepped in but unfortunately couldn’t make the weight at such short notice and was then replaced by Aleksy Kuziemski (21-3-0). Cleverly went on to stop Kuziemski by TKO and successfully defend the WBO Title.
Nathan is now marketing himself at a world-class level and there has already been talk of a possible fight with Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2)! Let’s not forget that he’s still only 24 years of age. I’m hoping to see him defend his title a few times before looking for a really big fight, although it depends how long Hopkins will be around for.
Tony Bellew is about to defend his commonwealth belt for the third time in a rematch against Ovill McKenzie (18-10-0) on July 16th in Liverpool. In their previous fight, Tony was floored in the 1st and 2nd rounds but went on to stop Ovill in the 8th. Also in his first defence of the belt Bob Ajisafe (8-2-0) floored him before going on to win a unanimous decision. Whereas on the other hand, Nathan defended the same Commonwealth title five times, stopping all five opponents.
In his last few fights we’ve seen Nathan take solid shots against world-ranked fighters and he’s not shown to be ‘chinny’ in any way, shape or form. Also he’s stopped eight of his last nine opponents.
It just seems to me that this is one of those fights that is destined to happen. Nothing sells like a genuine grudge match and the scenes between these two at the press conference last week before Tony had to pull out were extremely volatile.
I’m hoping Frank Warren keeps both fighters apart for the time being and tries to guide both of them to meet each other at some point in the future? We’ve just seen how a big domestic grudge match sells with the George Groves Vs. James DeGale fight over here in the UK.
How many of you guys think that Tony Bellew has a genuine chance of beating Nathan Cleverly right now?
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