Nathan Cleverly: Joe Calzaghe backs him to win second world title

Welsh boxing legend Joe Calzaghe believes Nathan Cleverly can become a two-weight world champion.

Cruiserweight Cleverly, 27, faces Argentina's Alejandro Emilio Valori at Liverpool's Echo Arena on July 12 on the same bill as England's Tony Bellew.

Cleverly beat Bellew to retain his WBO light-heavyweight title in 2011 and they could meet again in November.

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I think the cruiserweight division is adding to his punching power along with his speed - he hasn't lost any of his speed

Joe Calzaghe on Nathan Cleverly

Calzaghe said: "I'm pretty confident he's going to win and hopefully go on to world honours."

Cleverly overcame Bellew on points when the two last met and Calzaghe expects the same outcome now the pair are boxing in the new weight division.

"Bellew can punch, he's a strong fighter and he's got anger towards Nathan," said Calzaghe who retired undefeated in 2009 after a 46-fight career which saw him win world titles at super-middleweight and light-heavyweight.

"I've known Nathan since he was a young boy. Nathan has the class, the ability, the heart, the speed and it's all in how he fights.

"He can make it as easy or as hard as he wants to make it - Nathan can do a number on this guy.

"I think the cruiserweight division is adding to his punching power along with his speed - he hasn't lost any of his speed."

Cleverly moved up to the 200lb weight class after Sergey Kovalev beat him in four rounds to claim his WBO light-heavyweight title in August 2013.

Bellew followed him into the weight division four months later after he was beaten by Canada's Adonis Stevenson in Quebec City.

Both enjoyed successful debuts at the heavier weight class - Bellew knocked out Valery Brudov in March and Cleverly beat Shawn Corbin with a second-round stoppage in May.

Calzaghe, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June, said he was "excited" for Cleverly, adding: "This is a stepping stone to... hopefully becoming a two-weight world champion."