TONY 'BOMBER' BELLEW 16-1 (10 KO's) believes he will bounce back from his hard-fought defeat to WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly 23-0 (11) to become a world champion in the future.
Bellew put in an impressive performance in front of his home crowd against Cleverly who was heavily tipped as favorite. It was only the 27-year-old's 17th professional outing in a fight very much originated from the pair's heated rivalry. Bellew showed on the night that he is not far off being at the level to win a world title.
One judge scored the fight as being in Cleverly's favor by five rounds but that was very much off the mark as Bellew was only edged in a close-fought thriller.
The 'Bomber' caught the Welshman with some powerful right hands and also received some exercising a world-class chin. Both fighters took as much as they gave in what will surely earn the respect of boxing fans around Britain.
A deflated Bellew spoke after the fight and was in an apologetic mood but vowed to win a world title, "I maybe didn't throw enough which has led to me losing it on a decision. I just want to apologise to my coaches and my kids. I feel I didn't fulfill my potential tonight but I will become a world champion. If I didn't think I was good enough I wouldn't be in this sport."
The 'Bomber' talked of the respect he had for Cleverly, who he admitted proved him wrong, "I take my hat off to him. Well done to him he is a good champion and he has earned my respect. I think he tried to show me he could fight on the back foot later in the fight. Something I said he couldn't do before the fight but he did."
When questioned about whether he had actually hated Cleverly before the fight which looked apparent throughout the build-up Bellew told a journalist - "If I said I was going to fight you would you want to be mates beforehand. It is all part of the hype to sell tickets. We are in this sport to make money to secure the futures of our children. So I didn't hate or dislike him. I didn't want to be friends with him though. You don't like someone who is aiming to damage and harm you."
Many fight fans will be hoping to see a rematch in the future due to the close-nature of the contest and Bellew said if the money was right and the fans wanted it, it would be a possibility, "If it makes financial sense I would fight anyone. I would fight you, him anyone. If the fans want to see a rematch I am sure it will happen. At the minute I am looking to fight anyone that is put in front of me. Frank (Warren) can open many doors for me after tonight."
An emotional Bellew did not seem content despite receiving plaudits for his performance, "I am just looking at that belt now and I feel sick. One thing I think I have shown tonight is that I am one of very few that can take as much as I can give. There are not many fighters that could take the shots I have tonight and the same for Nathan - he is a great champion."