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Tony Bellew: I'll Smash Cleverly From Pillar To Post! - Boxing News
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 Last update:  9/29/2011       Read more by Shaun Brown         
   
Tony Bellew: I'll Smash Cleverly From Pillar To Post!
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By Shaun Brown

Hatred takes up too much time and energy, was Tony Bellews response when asked about his hostility towards Nathan Cleverly.

The odd couple will square off for the WBO light heavyweight title next month in Liverpool. Its a contest which has needed little selling since their memorable clash at a press conference back in May, when the fight had been originally scheduled to take place.

I dont hate him. I dislike him; hes deluded and a bit full of himself. I just dont personally like the guy and the way he looks down at me. Ive just got that personal feeling with him.

The cards have been on the table for a long time as to how the challenger (Bellew) and the champion (Cleverly) feel about one another. But the animosity, the verbal sparring, the needle is what makes a great British boxing rivalry. And down the years weve been spoiled with the likes of Eubank and Benn right through to the modern day with George Groves and James DeGale.

On the night of Oct 15 Cleverly will probably feel like hes taking on an entire city when he makes his ring walk in front of a crowd that will epitomise the term lions den. As challenger, Bellew is preparing to be down on the scorecards even before a punch has been thrown.

Im going into the fight already two rounds behind. Hes the champion and Ive got to work harder than ever to get that title. Everyone knows the champion gets favoured so Im not on a level playing field from the first round. But when I get in there Ill smash him from pillar to post, he declared.

Thirty-six minutes will encapsulate a lifetimes work for the likable Liverpudlian. The 28-year-olds journey to this unexpected world title shot has taken him from being a bouncer at nightclubs when he was just 15, working at a pillow factory (whilst training at night) to going to college one day a week studying to be an accountant. Its a life that could tell a thousand stories. Its a quest that Bellew is willing to pay the ultimate price for.

Im willing to die in that ring, he confessed.

Hes not willing to go into the trenches but I am going to take him there. He doesnt know what Im going to do on the 15th. After three, four rounds hes going to realise that hanging out that left hand and snapping the jab isnt going to work. I havent even shown 60% of what Im about. I can do it all; I can fight, I can box and I can toy with my opponent as well.

Whatever the strategy is for Bellew hes planning in the best possible way. Stylistically Carl Froch may not be the ideal sparring partner to replicate the fighting style of Nathan Cleverly but simply sharing the ring with a fighter of his pedigree is taking Bellews work to a whole new level.

Ive been his chief sparring partner and hes been mine, which is an honour. We didnt actually know each other but our two trainers got together to sort it out. Carl got me to have a test session with him and I think he got a shock as to how good I was. Hed flown over guys from Germany and Canada but sent them back once we began sparring. Its fantastic to be getting this kind of quality sparring and in two and a half weeks I mustve done 50-60 rounds with him.

Bellew freely admits that Cleverly is the best opponent on paper to face him so far. But despite the sizeable difference in who they have each fought, the Scouser did have a word of warning for his opponent.

Ive experienced things in the ring he hasnt. If he thinks Im another Karo Murat hes got another thing coming. When I fought Ovill McKenzie, no one wanted to fight him. Hes the only Prizefighter winner where people have said, Im not fighting him. Normally the winners go on to title shots. Like the soft clown I am I agreed to fight him. I looked at his record and thought this guys in for a pasting. When he hit me I didnt think too much of it but when he put me down the second time in the fight I swear to you I have never been hit that hard in my life, Bellew admitted.

As the days count down to one of the biggest dates on Britains boxing calendar this year, Bellew has found time to do a bit of pundit work for Sky TV. As recently as last weekend, alongside friend and heavyweight prospect David Price, the suited and booted Bellew shared his thoughts with the nation on how that nights action would unfold. The result of the main event was a surprise for everyone watching.

I was devastated. Its not fair on Lee Selby but I could see the writing was on the wall for Stephen (Smith). Hes one of the fittest lads Ive ever trained with but he seemed to be blowing after two rounds. Maybe he over-trained, I dont know. But hell be back and stronger for it. Selby though seems to have everything; hard to hit, he can box and he can bang.

I enjoyed the experience on Sky overall though. I was quite nervous though. I dont get nervous for anything but I was bricking it a bit. Ive had good comments about how I looked and how I came across. I didnt want to babble on, tried to keep it short and sweet. I didnt want to look soft and I didnt want to make my mate David Price look soft as well because hes bigger than me so I kept it short and sweet.

As thoughts turned back to Cleverly, I was curious to find out if the Welshman constantly entered the mindset of Bellew and how he was able to switch off from such a train of thought. The reply was not the one I had been expecting!

If I want to think of him I just need to watch an episode of Eastenders featuring Nick Cotton.

Tags: Nathan Cleverly , Tony Bellew , Cleverly-Bellew , Cleverly vs Bellew


 

 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by D-MiZe, on 09-29-2011
Bellew should move up to cruiser, he may have been down but he's never been hurt. Even when McKenzie dropped him with a big punch and he bounced off the canvas. However, Bellew just doesn't have a boxing brain. Throws 1-2s all the time and doesn't have any variation or a plan B. Warren's cashi...

comment by NoLove, on 09-29-2011
Bellew is showing similar characteristics to Audley Harrison here. Stats dont lie. He has been down several times. Cleverley should stop him in 6 rounds.

comment by charlieg, on 09-29-2011
Cleverly goes in to the trenches in every fight he is in. That's why he's exciting. He's also knocking everybody out lately. Bellew is the deluded one here. He's trying to instill confidence in himself, but I think that, deep down, he knows that to win this fight is a big ask and that Cleve...

comment by chav, on 09-29-2011
Anyone taking Bellew for this one? I think Clev is going to win this quite easily and by KO. I'm really up for this fight, so good to see Frank growing a set of balls over the last year and match his fighters hard, so unlike Warren that i still pinch myself to make sure its not a dream

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