Former WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has signed a shock deal with Matchroom Boxing that will see him on the card for their ‘Second Coming’ event in Cardiff on May 17.

Cleverly, who had been with his previous promoter Frank Warren since he turned professional in 2005, has decided to join Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom organisation on a fight-by-fight deal that could see him eventually paired against bitter rival Tony Bellew.

The 27-year-old is set to make his cruiserweight debut at the ‘Second Coming’ event against an unnamed opponent, but Cleverly admits that it is just a matter of time before he is standing opposite Bellew in the ring once again.

He told Sky Sports: “I think it's inevitable. We're both on a collision course and we're now in the same weight division.

"We've already had one great fight, which was an entertaining, crowd pleasing fight, so I think the fans want to see it.

“Bellew wants the fight and I want the rematch as well. Even though I won the first fight, I'm prepared to give him a rematch. I'm sure we'll get it on."

Cleverly won his initial bout with Bellew in Liverpool in October 2011 via a majority decision, but he has since lost his WBO light-heavyweight title and both fighters have stepped up to cruiserweight.

Now they are also on the same team and it is expected their promoter Hearn has a mega-bucks fight lined up for the two in the near future.

Cleverly has not fought since his fourth-round stoppage defeat against Sergey Kovalev in August last year that ended his undefeated record and stripped him of his title.

Before that crushing defeat by the Russian, Cleverly had made five successful defences of his title, including one against Bellew, and earned the status as a highly dangerous fighter.

The Welshman is raring to get back into the ring and begin a new, exciting stage of his career at Matchroom Boxing.

Cleverly added: “I’m excited to get back into the ring on May 17. There are some big fights in the division, I’ve had a great rest and had a chance to lead a normal life and I am ready now to start a new chapter. 

"Matchroom and Sky Sports is the place to be to get back to the top and I can't wait to get back in there - let's bring it on."

Once Cleverly has established himself as a cruiserweight, boxing fans everywhere will be hoping that the blockbuster rematch with Bellew goes ahead, with Hearn predicting that it could be 'six to eight months away'. 

The pair have has a stormy past to say the least, clashing first at the press conference before their first meeting in the ring. But, more recently their hatred for one another spilled over into a Twitter row.

Bellew has repeatedly stated he felt hard done-by following their first fight and has continued to call for a rematch. The Liverpool-born fighter continued their dispute after his cruiserweight debut win over Valery Brudov earlier this month, saying how he was sick of hearing Cleverly's name.

Cleverly responded by antagonising the 31-year-old even further, saying:
“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. But when it happens, he's going to get spanked again.

“I think Tony's only chance to beat me was in that fight in Liverpool. I was 24, I went into the fight at several weeks' notice in his backyard and that was his best chance of beating me.”

It will certainly be a fiery affair with no love lost should the two meet again later this year in a blockbuster battle of Britain.

Neither fighter is short on confidence and with both so determined to win it is likely that it could go the distance again, though Bellew will want to avoid a repeat of their last meeting.

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DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Tony Bellew
Boxing
Nathan Cleverley