• Boxing

Cleverly and Bellew to share Liverpool billing

ESPN staff
June 10, 2014
Nathan Cleverly knocked out Shawn Corbin on his cruiserweight debut © Getty Images

British rivals Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew will share top billing on July 12 at the same venue they came to blows at in October 2011.

Cleverly will fight Alejandro Emilio Valori and Bellew will face Julio Cesar dos Santos at Liverpool's Echo Arena on a card which also features Olympic champion Anthony Joshua.

Former WBO light-heavyweight champion Cleverly enjoyed a majority decision win against Bellew at the same venue three years ago and the pair are widely expected to renew their bitter rivalry as cruiserweights later this year, should they both come through their respective fights next month.

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"This is my third fight in Liverpool and it's been a good hunting ground for me," Cleverly told the South Wales Argus. "Hopefully it will be the same again but Valori is going to come to fight.

"I'm in the cruiserweight category now and these guys have got a lot of weight on them. I love this weight division. I feel natural at this weight and I feel strong and sharp and after a successful first fight I want to keep that momentum going now.

"I'm keeping busy with a second fight in three months but I'm fresh and I'm going to make sure I keep winning. Hopefully Bellew keeps doing the business as well and then we're going to get it on."

Promoter Eddie Hearn is keen to make a rematch between the two and said: "My obvious ambition is to get these two guys together and once they get the job done on July 12 I'll be making sure we get that fight made as soon as possible."

Cleverly made four successful defences of his WBO belt, which included triumph over Bellew, before he was knocked out be Sergey Kovalev in August last year.

After several postponements, the Welshman finally made his debut at his new weight level in May when he knocked out Shawn Corbin at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena.

Bellew suffered his second loss as a professional against WBC light-heavyweight title champion Adonis Stevenson last November. As a result, the 31-year-old decided move up in weights before he claimed the vacant WBO international cruiserweight title with victory against Valery Brudov in March.

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