Tony Bellew & Nathan Cleverley on course for rematch

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Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly have both done what is expected of them, and they are now set to face off in a highly anticipated rematch.

Bellew, 31, put on a very good display against the tough, previously unstopped Julio Cesar Dos Santos of Brazil.

Dos Santos was a tougher opponent than Alejandro Valori, who Nathan Cleverly, 27, faced-off with, and this could prove vital for Bellew coming into their fight.

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Bellew has faced two opponents in Brudov and Dos Santos who are of a higher calibre than the two men Cleverly has faced as a cruiserweight, and that may prove to give him the advantage. For Cleverly, his shot at Bellew will be a big step-up from his last two opponents.

Cleverly was expected to look impressive against the Argentine Valori, but it was Valori himself who started the better of the two fighters. He looked really up for the fight and landed some cheeky shots on Cleverly as the Welshman looked to come in.

Valori didn't look in good physical condition and he was blowing as early as the second round. Cleverly landed a good body shot in the second round which floored his opponent and it was only a matter of time before the fight came to an end.

Fourth Round stoppage

Cleverly finished the job in the fourth round but really the level of opponent he was in with will have done little to prepare him for Bellew.

Bellew, in his second fight with trainer Dave Coldwell, looked determined to put on a good, disciplined display. He looks so much stronger up at cruiserweight and his punches seem to have the snap back in them.

The Everton fan landed some good shots to the body against the durable Dos Santos, who kept on trying to come forward. Despite his recent move up a division, Bellew looked like the naturally bigger man, which seems to vindicate his claims of struggling to make the light heavyweight limit.

Big finish

Bellew was caught with a couple of good shots by his opponent as he tried to load up on his shots a bit too often, and was punished for doing so. The fight was to end in emphatic fashion though with a beautiful left-hook landing flush and Dos Santos hitting the canvas. He returned to his feet but he looked unsteady and the referee waved off the contest.

It was a brilliant shot from Bellew which would have put away most men and this would have been an emphatic statement made to Cleverly that their rematch up at cruiserweight may be a much tougher test.

Following the end of the fight, Bellew walked over to the ropes near where Cleverly was sitting ringside and an argument broke out. Bellew then proceeded to climb through the ropes and confront Cleverly before deciding against it.


Heated words were expressed in an interview with SkySports afterwards, with both men saying how they were going to hurt the other. There was real animosity and a genuine dislike between the two men.

Bellew seemed to gain the upper-hand in the war of words, labelling Cleverly as having been a plastic champion and asking why he didn't offer a rematch after their first fight.

There is going to be a lot of hype in the build-up to this rematch and it will get the country talking about boxing again. A domestic rivalry is great for boxing in this country, as shown by Froch and Groves earlier in the year.

This should be a fascinating fight and has the potential to really boil over into heated exchanges.

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Tony Bellew
Nathan Cleverley

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