Nathan Cleverly wants Tony Bellew rematch after defeat

Nathan Cleverly's (R) defeat against Tony Bellew (L) was his second loss in 30 professional fights
Nathan Cleverly's (R) defeat against Tony Bellew (L) was his second loss in 30 professional fights

Welsh boxer Nathan Cleverly wants a rematch following his split decision defeat against Tony Bellew in Liverpool on Saturday.

Bellew edged the cruiserweight bout in front of his home crowd, avenging his 2011 defeat, in the pair's world title light heavyweight fight.

The three judges scored it 114-115 116-112 115-113 to Bellew and Cleverly, 27, wants a decider.

"I think the only way to settle it now is maybe a third fight," said Cleverly.

"Two close fights. Two excellent fights, similar fights. We may as well have a third to settle the score."

Nathan Cleverly
"I'm not a full blown cruiserweight. There's no doubt about that. I'm somewhere in between the light heavyweight and cruiserweight division."

Since their first fight both men suffered knockout losses against Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev respectively.

After a cagey first few rounds on Saturday, dominated by jabs from both sides, Bellew stepped up the pace in the seventh, without ever landing a significant blow.

Cleverly spent most of the ninth round with his back against the ropes, but Bellew missed too often and the fight became ragged.

The Welshman also seemed reluctant to use his right hand as the fight wore on.

Cleverly v Bellew
"It was a weird one. Six rounds were technical then they stood in one place and tried to attack each other," said promoter Eddie Hearn

"I hurt my right hand in the third round," explained Cleverly.

"I caught him on the forehead and that just stopped me from using it. So I just peppered with the jab.

"I neglected my right hand because I couldn't really let it go fully."

Since moving up to cruiserweight, Cleverly stopped both Shawn Corbin and Alejandro Emilio Valori to set up the bout against Bellew.

The Cefn Fforest fighter admitted he also struggled going the full 12 rounds for the first time in his new weight division.

"I've got to be honest the first half of the fight, it was comfortable for me," said Cleverly.

"I was boxing and moving. I felt nice in there. I thought I'm winning this easy.

"This is the first time I've been to the second half of a fight in the cruiserweight division. It started getting hard.

"I'm carrying 25 pounds extra muscle now and it burns a lot more oxygen and I felt it.

"I'm not a full blown cruiserweight. There's no doubt about that.

"I'm somewhere in between the light heavyweight and cruiserweight division."

Bellew v Cleverly
Bellew described his Saturday fighting as "old school", forcing Cleverly into the corners for much of the bout

Before the fight Cleverly had suggested he may retire if he lost, but said the nature of his defeat means that is not an option.

"It would be a shame to just throw it all in like that, because I've got so much more to give," said Cleverly.

"I didn't get hurt in the fight nowhere near. I felt strong, I feel healthy, I feel in a good place mentally.

"I feel good but just blew up in the second half of the fight. I just couldn't carry the weight."

Top Stories