By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
TONY BELLEW has slammed Nathan Cleverly for refusing him a rematch.
The Scouse scrapper ends a six-month exile when he defends his British light-heavyweight title against Norwich’s Danny McIntosh at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Friday.
But Bellew, 29, would have preferred to face Cleverly in a rematch after their thrilling WBO world title fight last October.
The Everton fan lost a close points decision to unbeaten Welshman Cleverly with one judge even scoring it a draw.
Cleverly, 25, has since out-pointed American Tommy Karpency but last week pulled out of facing Kosovan Robin Krasniqi, after becoming ill with a virus.
Bellew said: “I feel like I’ve come off the best performance of my career but I’ve been left to rot. I was supposed to fight in January but it didn’t happen.
“I would have gone to Cardiff to fight Cleverly again and that would not have been a problem for me – but he doesn’t want to know.
“He’s taking easier options. It was a close, hard fight. I gave him my word I would give him a rematch because I didn’t want to just scrape by him. Cleverly doesn’t want anything to do with me but people want to see that fight.”
Meanwhile, ‘Bomber’ Bellew is wary of the threat of McIntosh, 32.
He said: “I want to fight guys with credentials and Danny McIntosh has credentials because he is a former European champion.
“Danny’s a good opponent in my comeback fight and he is better than Cleverly’s last opponent and the one he was meant to fight next.
“It’s a fight I have to be careful with because Danny has achieved more than I have so far in my career. This fight could be fast and explosive. It could be over in the second or sixth round – but it will be early.”