Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew looks to continue his journey in the cruiserweight division on the 12th July at the Echo Arena.

Bellew aged 31 is a former two-time world title challenger at light-heavyweight but having made the big step-up to cruiserweight against the experienced Valery Brudov in March, he has his eyes set on big fights.

Bellew came up short in his two title challenges against Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson but it is the aforementioned Cleverly who Bellew is on a collision course with.

Cleverly lost his WBO light-heavyweight world title last year to the brutal Sergey Kovalev and has since made the move up to cruiserweight too.

He was badly beaten by the hard-hitting Russian and toyed with retiring from the sport in his time away from the ring before deciding that he did want to return.

Bellew and Cleverly have an intense rivalry and there is a real dislike between the two. Those who know both men say that they are nice guys but for some reason they just don't like each other.

Their first fight was close but one which Cleverly rightly won. The press conference for that fight is well known with both men insulting the other and it almost spilled over into a physical confrontation.

Both men are matched on the Eddie Hearn Matchroom bill but not against each other. It is common knowledge that if both men come through their fights successfully that a big grudge match awaits them later this year.

Bellew will face-off against Brazilian Julio Santos who holds 23 knock outs from 26 wins and just two losses. Bellew will have to be wary as Santos is obviously a decent puncher and having been floored in his last fight against Brudov he will have to be focused on the job in hand.

Bellew will be the big favourite coming into the fight and will be expected to come through successfully in his home city on a stacked card.

Bellew looks more powerful up at cruiserweight and his struggles to make the light-heavyweight limit have been well documented. He will be looking to land his big shots and live up to his nickname 'The Bomber'.

Cleverly will face the 31-year-old Argentine, Alejandro Valori, in what is another fight for him to get used to the new weight.

Cleverly appears to be a man who is caught in-between the vast weight difference between light-heavyweight and cruiserweight which puts him into a difficult position.

He isn't a massive puncher but he does have good technique and hand-speed which he will look to utilise against the naturally bigger men in this division.

He looked impressive against Shawn Corbin but in all fairness Corbin is a limited fighter who Cleverly was expected to dominate.

The choice of Corbin as Cleverly's opponent drew major criticism from Bellew who said that he couldn't be compared to Brudov who he had fought in his first fight at the new weight.

A lot of the top British talent will be in action on the night with the likes of Cleverly, Callum Smith, Rocky Fielding, Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell, Anthony Ogogo and Stephen Smith all fighting.

It should be a good night of boxing action and one which will hopefully set-up another big domestic dust-up as the tension is really starting to sizzle.

Topics:
#Light heavyweight
#Cruiserweight
#Tony Bellew
#Boxing
#Nathan Cleverley