It’s been four months since the pair first squared off at the infamous press conference at London’s O2 Arena and WBO World Light-Heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly now can’t wait to finally get in the ring with Tony Bellew. There has been plenty of tension between the two unbeaten boxers heading into the October 15th blockbuster at the Liverpool Echo Arena, but Cleverly is looking forward to finally stepping between the ropes.
“I’m looking forward to the fight right now,” he said. “A lot has been said, and there has been a lot of hype around the fight, but I’m glad all the press conferences are done now and I can concentrate on training.
“We can finally get on with business, this is where the real talking begins – with out fists,
“I’m raring to go, I’ve been training well, there’s not that long to go until the fight and we can finally see who’s number one once and for all.”
During the five-month build up to the showdown there has been a lot of bad blood between the duo, however Cleverly has some respect for his rival.
“It’s a challenge and I’m not taking it lightly,” Cleverly continued. “I have respect for my opponent, at the end of the day once you’re in that ring you’ve got to have respect for your opponent,
“He’ll be in there trying to win the fight as well and anything can happen. In training, if you haven’t got any respect for your opponent it is difficult to get motivated and you’ll end up taking that attitude into the fight,
“It’s important you respect all your opponents, regardless of their records, weather they are a big name or not, you’ve got to appear like a champion and I’m making sure I do that.”
With that being said Cleverly hasn’t seen much from his opponent that is giving him sleepless nights.
“Tony’s recent performances have been okay,” the 24-year-old commented. “He had an up and down fight with Ovill McKenzie and I think that showed his level really.
“Obviously he won quite comfortably in the rematch, he boxed okay, nothing special but it was bad either, it was a solid performance.
“He’s going to be a decent test for me but I can’t see it being anything greater than that.”
Cleverly is currently unbeaten in 22 fights and will be looking to make that 23. Should he win, comparisons will start to be drawn with unbeaten Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe.
“It nice to be mentioned in the same way as Joe actually and in that type of company, and to be expected to emulated those kind of achievements is a bit of a boost for me,
“It shows people have expectations of me and they really expect me to go on and achieve big things. That in turn can give you great confidence and I do take confidence from that,
“In a way you really want to go out there and prove your supporters and fans right and not to let them down.”