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DeGale, Bellew Focused, Ready To Make Statements

Tony Bellew is happy to acknowledge Nathan Cleverly's academic prowess, but feels confident he has a better boxing brain than the Welshman.

The pair go toe-to-toe on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Bellew's home city of Liverpool, with Cleverly's WBO light-heavyweight belt on the line.

Both made the weight ahead of the eagerly-anticipated grudge match, around which the hype has been building due to some explosive press conferences and an ongoing war of words between the two unbeaten fighters.

A brief skirmish broke out at the weigh-in, although the most important thing for Bellew (16-0, 10 KO's) was that he made the cut, having failed to slim down in time for his original fight with Cleverly (22-0, 11 KO's) in May, when he had been called in as a late replacement.

They will now finally face each other in the ring, where Bellew - even if he might be no match for maths graduate Cleverly in the classroom - is sure he will outwit his opponent.

"He has got a big heart and he will come to fight," said Bellew, 28. "He will not back down; he is unbeaten like me and he is going to fight to the death.

"But that is going to be his downfall ultimately. I have got a better boxing brain than he has.

"I don't think my brain can touch his when it comes to arithmetic, but when it comes to boxing I have got a very good brain on my shoulders and I think that is going to play a vital role in this fight.

"I'm from the street, we all know that. I've come from nothing and I've still got nothing, but at the end of the day it's a fight, and if there is one thing I can do, it's fight."

Cleverly insists he has done his best to avoid the trash talking he thinks has earned Bellew his shot and will do the Liverpudlian no good.

"Initially, I admit I was drawn in," the 24-year-old said. "At the very first press conference he said something to me and I responded with verbals myself.

"But since then I've thought it better to tone it down, keep silent and leave Tony to do the talking.

"He is good at what he does, he makes a lot of noise and he has got the fight he wants. But ultimately he is going to be a very disappointed man."

James DeGale fights Poland's European super-middleweight champion Piotr Wilczewski on the undercard as he looks to bounce back from his defeat by George Groves in May, the first loss of his professional career.

After being on the wrong end of a controversial majority points decision on that occasion, DeGale is grateful to promoter Frank Warren for lining up the bout with Wilczewski and has his sights set on a rematch with Commonwealth title-holder Groves in the near future.

"Obviously to lose your 'O' (unbeaten record) is upsetting, but it has happened to a lot of great fighters and it is about the way you bounce back," DeGale said.

"I'm in a fantastic position. To come off a loss and box for the European title is fantastic, and when I win this I'll get a world ranking and all the doors open again.

"I think the public want to see it (a rematch with Groves), because it was so close and controversial.

"That is high on my wish list. If he defends his title (against Paul Smith) and I win this European title, believe me that will happen sooner rather than later."

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