By Terence Dooley
Domestic 175lb rival Tony Bellew shares Nathan Cleverly’s anger at the withdrawal of titlist Juergen Braehmer ahead of Saturday’s proposed WBO light-heavyweight title fight at the O2 Arena but insists that he can come in at late notice to challenge for the belt.
‘Bomber’ was said to be a stone away from the division limit. However, he has informed BoxingScene.com that he is only 6½lbs away from the magic figure and is ready, willing and physically able to step in and fight Cleverly for the WBO belt should the organization crown Nathan later today.
“I want this fight. If everything adds up and it can be done then I’ll take it, no problems,” declared the 15-0 (10) fighter. Bellew has a July 16th meeting with Ovill McKenzie on the horizon but is adamant that he can step into the breach now in order to present Cleverly with a stern test.
Saying, “I was running at half five this morning. I told [Frank Warren’s matchmaker] Dean Powell not to get too stressed because I was getting close to the weight and am in shape. Then I hear that Braehmer had pulled out and headed straight into the gym.”
Warren has already written off the hope of Bellew stepping in, citing weight as the problem. Bellew, though, believes that news he is only a half stone away from the limit could give him an inroad into the contest.
“They know, mate,” said Bellew to my question of whether Warren and Powell have been informed of his current poundage. “They’ve got Twitter pages and know that I’m here for it. Dean knows that I want it whatever happens. It would be sudden but everything happens for a reason. I have worked hard in training and if this did go ahead I wouldn’t be there to make up numbers, help the bill or anything else – I’d be taking it to smash Cleverly’s face in and knock him all over that O2 Arena ring.
“I am number fourteen in the WBO rankings so why not make the fight? Braehmer is an absolute joke so why not bring in a fighter who really wants it? No one announces a cut three days before a fight. He’d have to have done it in sparring last week and it is a disgrace that he’s done this.”
He added: “Frank has lost purse bids in the past but he always honors the agreements, he’d never allow one of his fighters to do this three days before a fight. We get on with things if we have to fight on a rival card but the same can’t be said of Braehmer.”
Any sympathy for Cleverly’s plight was washed away the moment Bellew hit that magic 6½lb mark. The Liverpudlian feels only one thing toward his bitter domestic rival, and it isn’t pity.
“I’ve got nothing for him right now, no sympathy,” blasted Bellew. “All I have for him is a left hook, a right hand and a good smashing if I get this fight. I wanted him to beat Braehmer and do well but now my name is in the frame I want in on this fight.
“I’m hitting with power with both hands, looking good in the gym and doing what I have to do. These opportunities come once a lifetime and I wouldn’t miss it for the sake of a few lbs. This is not to get my name in the press, help out the bill or anything else, I want to beat Cleverly.”
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