Cleverly v Bellew: Win 'bigger than' world title for Welshman

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Nathan Cleverly (left) and Tony Bellew
Nathan Cleverly (left) lands a blow during his win over Tony Bellew in 2011
Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew
Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool Date: Saturday, 22 November
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Wales BBC 5 live sports extra 19:30-21:00 GMT and BBC Radio 5 live 21:00-00:00 GMT

Nathan Cleverly says winning his rematch against Tony Bellew would be better than becoming world champion.

Cleverly beat Bellew in 2011 to retain his WBO light-heavyweight world title, before losing it to Sergey Kovalev in 2013.

The Welshman faces Bellew at cruiserweight in Liverpool on Saturday, and says victory would be his greatest achievement.

"This would eclipse winning the world title," said Cleverly.

"I've got to win this fight. This is a personal battle, the grudge.

"I've got no option, I've got to win this fight and really silence this guy. He needs silencing once and for all."

Nathan Cleverly says Tony Bellew deserves a slap

The 27-year-old edged out Bellew, 31, on points when they met as light-heavyweights at Liverpool's Echo Arena in 2011.

The two boxers have since moved up to cruiserweight, and the build-up to the "grudge" rematch has been littered with fierce fighting talk from both men.

Bellew has gone as far as to say he "hates" Cleverly and, regardless of Saturday's result, the Liverpudlian does not believe the animosity will ease.

"There will still be no respect whatsoever," said Bellew.

"When I did show respect after the first fight, it wasn't given back and I'll never forgive that for as long as I live."

The winner of Saturday's bout will go on to fight for a cruiserweight world title but, like Cleverly, promoter Eddie Hearn believes settling this grudge match will mean more than being crowned world champion.

"It means more than that," said Hearn.

"Nothing else matters. I think this is bigger to them than a world title."

Below is the list of the other fights on the undercard:

Scott Quigg v Hidenori Otake

WBA super-bantamweight title

Quigg 29-0-2 Otake 22-1-3

Scott Quigg on BBC Radio 5 live: "I only know what I've mainly read about him (Otake). He's highly thought of on the forums - really we are going into the fight blind.

"We know he's aggressive going forward and he's durable. I'm going into the unknown - we don't know what he's really like. I'm 100% confident and prepared. He won't have answers for anything that I bring to him."

Jamie McDonnell v Javier Chacon

WBA bantamweight title

McDonnell 24-2-1 Chacon 20-2-0

Jamie McDonnell on BBC Radio 5 live: "This is a massive card and stacked with great talent. I'm privileged to share a big card again. He's (Chacon) only little. I expect a tough fight - it could go the distance. I'd like to win quite comfortably - a stoppage will be best."

Anthony Joshua v Michael Sprott

British heavyweight title eliminator

Joshua 9-0-0, Sprott 42-22-0

Michael Sprott on BBC Radio 5 live: "I'm looking forward to the fight. I'll look to bring my experience and come through. I think compared to (former opponent) Audley Harrison, he's the stronger. Harrison has probably got the better skill. I will see how it goes. He'll (Joshua) come out quick. I'll see if he can go 10 rounds. I'll have to stop him, though - that's my only hope."

Callum Smith v Nikola Sjekloca

WBC super-middleweight title eliminator

Smith 14-0-0 Sjekloca 28-2-0

Callum Smith on BBC Radio 5 live: "He's (Sjekloca) a good fighter - 29 fights and only two losses and both were to world champions. He went the distance with the two of them. This is a massive test and a massive jump. But I've come through previous fights with ease."

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