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Frank Warren on Cleverly vs. Bellew, Hopkins, More

by Frank Warren, courtesy of The Sun

YOU can't beat a genuine British beef and there's certainly one in Liverpool tonight when two rival domestic boxers get it on.

Big punchers Nathan Cleverly, the WBO light-heavyweight champion, and Tony Bellew meet in a real grudge fight at the Echo Arena that has all the hallmarks of the most famous rivalry of all between Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank in the early 90s.

There have been many big British grudge fights over the years that have gripped the nation — the likes of Henry Cooper v Joe Bugner, Errol Christie v Mark Kaylor and, more recently, James DeGale and George Groves went so far they couldn't even stand the sight of each other.

Joe Calzaghe and Richie Woodhall were the best of friends yet put on a tremendous battle and were mates again after.

I wonder if you'll see that between Cleverly and Bellew following their clash?

They've been on a collision course for a few years now. It gained momentum after an explosive Press conference at the O2 Arena when they were due to meet at 48 hours notice.

The fight was cancelled because Bellew couldn't make the weight at such short notice. He has had time to prepare now though.

And there have been even more lively Press conference where Bellew 'butted' Cleverly during a head-to-head photocall in Liverpool. Unfortunately the police were called in Cardiff when Cleverly's father and trainer Vince and Bellew's team got into a heated row.

There is genuine animosity between both guys and I don't know when it started or if it will end.

They just seem to rub each other up the wrong way, as did Benn and Eubank. It is a shame as they are both nice guys.

I don't think that this fight will be for the faint-hearted. They are going into the ring undefeated with plenty of pride and bragging rights at stake.

Both are big punchers and, while I think they may be cautious to begin with, I think hearts will rule heads and they will wind up in the trenches throwing bombs in a terrific action-packed war.

I promote them both and enjoy their company so it will be awkward for me to watch. They are both intelligent, well-educated guys, Cleverly has a Maths degree while Bellew has qualifications in accountancy. Tonight we'll find out who's got whose number.

Watch Cleverly v Bellew, the Liverpool undercard and WBC light-heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins v Chad Dawson tonight on BoxNation Sky Chan 456.

ON the undercard, James DeGale has a big opportunity to impress by capturing the European super-middleweight title against tough Pole Piotr Wilczewski.

A win could see Chunky in line for a world title fight ahead of London 2012 which was always the plan since he turned professional after winning gold at the Beijing Olympics.

BERNARD HOPKINS steps into the ring tonight for the 61st time in a career spanning 23 years.

At 46, he became the oldest world champion in history. He faces Chad Dawson, 29, in LA.

I'm in talks with Hopkins' camp about a fight with the winner of the Cleverly-Bellew bout.

EX-CON Dewey Bozella makes his pro debut at 52 after serving 26 years for a murder he didn't commit.

It was his dream to turn pro and he boxed in prison.

Bernard Hopkins, himself a former con, heard about Bozella's ambition and added him to his LA card.

WORD on the grapevine is that Christopher Eubank, son of former world champion Chris, has signed with Mick Hennessey and his fights will be broadcast on Channel 5.

It was felt that Christopher would be signing with Eubank's former manager Barry Hearn.

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