Bellew claims revenge in win over Cleverly

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Victorious Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew (left) talks to Sky Sports after the Nathan Cleverly fight. Pic © Sky Sports

Victorious Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew (left) talks to Sky Sports after the Nathan Cleverly fight. Pic © Sky Sports

Tony Bellew beat arch rival Nathan Cleverly with a split-decision points victory in a gruelling cruiserweight rematch at the Liverpool Echo Arena, and vowed to fight his opponent for a third time in Wales if the demand is there.

The Scouser won the highly anticipated clash after dominating the last four rounds of the 12, with the Welshman hardly able to gather himself from the ropes for the latter stages before falling to the second defeat of his career.

‘The Bomber’ finally claimed revenge after narrowly losing the pair’s first bout at the same venue three years ago, and admitted it was a hard night’s work.

Bellew said: “I’m over the moon. I won’t go back on my word, there’s not going to be a big embrace and a hug, but let’s just say there’s respect there. If this can fill the Millennium Stadium I’ll go there.

“To out-work such a great athlete, it was hard. But I put my foot on the gas in the second half, I knew he was pacing himself and I knew he didn’t anticipate my work-rate.”

In a rare show of sportsmanship between the pair, Bellew called Cleverly back into the ring after the fight to have a joint interview, which was full of praise from both boxers for their opponents.

This comes after a fiery build-up to the fight, including a tense press conference in Liverpool on Thursday in which the pair nearly came to blows earlier than anticipated.

Caerphilly boxer Cleverly paid tribute to Bellew after the fight, and said it was only fair that a possible deciding contest should be in Wales after two clashes at the Echo Arena.

Cleverly said: “He was using his natural strength, pushing me back and the last six rounds, he made it pay. Another close fight, one apiece, maybe we’ll have a third fight.”

The first rounds were cagey, with the Welshman working his jab well and upholding a solid defence to keep ‘The Bomber’ at bay, with the Wavertree-born man not able to land many of his wild combinations.

Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew. Pic by Adam Jones © JMU Journalism

Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew. Pic by Adam Jones © JMU Journalism

Later on, Bellew’s experience at cruiserweight started to show and he began to cause a visibly fatigued Cleverly problems, consistently keeping him on the back foot in front of a rapturous home crowd.

For the final rounds, Cleverly almost always found himself on the ropes, with 31-year-old Bellew pinning him back by throwing a torrent of punches, landing more and more as the fight wore on.

Bellew’s hard work and persistence paid off after two judges granted him 116-112 and 115-113 victories, with Cleverly edging the other scorecard 115-114.

The Evertonian has now won three times in a row at the Echo Arena and, after this eliminator bout, could go on to face German Marco Huck for the WBO title.

About Adam Jones, JMU Journalism