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Tony Bellew is Confident That He Will Get Nathan Cleverly

Tony Bellew is confident he will soon get another chance to fight Nathan Cleverly for the Welshman's WBO light-heavyweight crown.

Bellew was suddenly handed a shot at the world title last month when champion Juergen Braehmer pulled out of a scheduled bout with Cleverly at London's O2 Arena just days before the show.

Cleverly was subsequently upgraded from 'interim' champion with long-time rival Bellew named as the challenger for his first defence of the belt, but the Liverpudlian then failed to make the required 12st 7lb weight limit and Poland's Aleksy Kuziemski stepped in to take his place.

While Cleverly went on to defeat Kuziemski, Bellew was left to reflect on what might have been, but the 28-year-old (15-0, 10 KOs) is sure it will not be long before he gets the opportunity to make amends for what happened.

"It was the darkest 36 hours of my life," Bellew told Press Association Sport.

"I lost a stone in 24 hours and I just needed to lose a bit more. I just couldn't get it down any more and I was devastated.

"But that is just how it goes. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I have always been very strong mentally and I know how to rebound and get on with things.

"I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, setting my goals and striving to achieve them.

"My chance will come, without a shadow of a doubt. I think the exposure and the build-up between myself and Cleverly now is massive.

"People want to see the fight, everybody is itching to do it, so it is there."

For the time being, Bellew is preparing for his rematch with Ovill McKenzie at Liverpool's Echo Arena on July 16, which is part of the undercard for Ricky Burns' WBO super-featherweight title defence against Nicky Cook.

"The bout with Cleverly is within touching distance, but I have to come through July 16," Bellew said.

"It means nothing if I don't come through this next fight. My full focus is on McKenzie and then we can start talking about Nathan Cleverly."

Bellew was floored twice in the early stages by Jamaican-born Derby resident McKenzie (18-10, 7 KOs) when the pair previously met last December in Liverpool, but the local fighter recovered to secure victory by technical knock-out in the eighth round.

"I went in there and started too slow - I was switched off at the beginning, but I came through," Bellew said.

"I took his best punches and it was amazing to people how I got up.

"But I've got two lovely kids at home and that is the reason I got off the floor and why I do what I do - that is what pushes me to succeed.

"I'm looking forward to this rematch and doing the business."

McKenzie, winner of the Prizefighter tournament at cruiserweight two years ago, is looking to regain the light-heavyweight Commonwealth belt currently held by Bellew having been champion himself for a spell between 2006 and 2007, while the vacant British title is also up for grabs.

"It's very good to have two belts to bring back to Derby," McKenzie said.

"The main thing is to win that Commonwealth belt back. It is a big thing for me - I'm 31 and I need that belt in my life to keep me motivated in the boxing game."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by leemoorcroft on 06-13-2011

better statement from bellew but think at this stage cleverly would easy win and is alot younger than bellew . good power hes got so always a punchers chance but can it break that wopper of a chin on cleverly…

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