What Next For Nathan Cleverly, Tony Bellew?

By James Slater - Last night in Liverpool, bitter light-heavyweight rivals Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew put on a battle that lived up to the pre-fight hype. The two men had, for weeks, been at each other’s throats, Bellew especially aching to do harm to the WBO champion - and last night the two punched the hate out of one another over 12 hard rounds.

Showing mutual respect after the majority verdict that went 24-year-old “Clev’s” way, the two Brits sat next to each other as they were interviewed (such a scene would have been impossible to envisage back when the two fighters had to be separated at that press conference!) Their rivalry settled (for now at least; Frank Warren did speak about the possibility of a rematch between the pair), the two must now go on in search of other big fights.

It has been reported by The Liverpool Echo that 28-year-old “Bomber” Bellew, now 16-1(10) may go for the European title next (currently held by Eduard Gutknecht of Germany). While Cleverly, 23-0(11) said post-fight that his aim is to unify the 175-pound world titles.. Cleverly expressed particular interest in facing reigning WBA champ Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan and also current IBF ruler Tavoris Cloud of the U.S. Both fights would be intriguing affairs; a battle between Cleverly and Cloud especially.

The WBO and IBF champs have had words in the past, and yet another grudge-match involving the gifted Welshman could be on the cards. Cleverly proved again last night that he is the real deal. Still growing into a world champion he may be, but the man from Cefn Fforest has proven; A: he can take a punch, B: he has excellent stamina and C: he is willing to face the best each and every time out.

A Cleverly-Chad Dawson match-up would no doubt prove very exciting for Cleverly, seeing as how “Bad” Chad has just become the universally recognised world champion thanks to that controversial (perhaps to be overturned) win over modern day legend Bernard Hopkins - but the southpaw king seems headed towards a return with Jean Pascal. Nevertheless, down the road, if Cleverly has remained unbeaten, a fight between the two would be a big deal.

Basically, the world seems to be at Cleverly’s feet. With some great competition out there for him, the Welshman has a number of defining fights awaiting him. As for Bellew, who showed fine boxing skills last night, he can certainly come again.

Article posted on 16.10.2011

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