By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
NATHAN CLEVERLEY'S intended opponent Tony Bellew failed to scale the heights on Thursday as he lost his chance of landing a world title.
Tony Bellew had to lose almost a stone before he faced Welshman Nathan Cleverly for the WBO world light heavyweight title at London’s 02 Arena on Saturday.
But he couldn’t beat the scales and the fight was called off on Thursday with promoter Frank Warren quickly finding a new opponent for Cleverly.
He is Polish bruiser Aleksy Kuziemski, who is ranked No.11 with the WBO and was previously targeted when Cleverly’s original opponent, Juergan Braehmer, pulled out.
Warren said: “It has been a real trial for me to sort everything out for this fight night.
“I am disappointed the Cleverly-Bellew fight isn’t going to happen and I am absolutely gutted for the fans who wanted to see it.
“Tony Bellew insisted he could make the weight but now Nathan will face Kuziemski and I hope he does well against him.”
Bellew himself only stepped in yesterday to take over from German Braehmer, who infuriated Warren by pulling out on Wednesday, citing an eye injury as the reason.
That resulted in the WBO stripping him of his title and awarding it by default to Cleverly, who now defends it against Poland’s Kuziemski.
Bellew, 28, admitted he was in a race against time and that he had to lose plenty of weight.
He had been working with his nutritionist Kerry Kayes in a battle against the scales and the clock but said: “Kerry is a magician and I know he can do the business.”
But that proved a boast too far. It did not work out as Bellew repeatedly showed he had not lost any weight in a series of scales tests conducted by the British Boxing Board of Control last night.
Before the fight was called off, a head-to-meeting at the O2 Arena descended into a farce with security man Dominic Negus, who once fought Audley Harrison, having to haul Bellew away from Cleverly.
Tempers blew when Cleverly shouted: “You are dead at the weight. Your legs are gone. I will even give you a free shot.”
Angry Bellew replied: “If you give me a free shot you will leave in an ambulance.”
British super-middleweight champion James DeGale meets Commonwealth belt holder George Groves on the same bill and yesterday it was revealed they planned to have a side bet involving their combined purse.
But the British Boxing Board of Control quickly quashed that idea by saying fighters were not allowed to make wagers on their own fights.