Bellew exacts revenge on Cleverly

Published: Sunday 23rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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Tony Bellew paid tribute to bitter rival Nathan Cleverly after gaining revenge with a majority points win in their cruiserweight fight at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Three years after dropping an equally tight decision in a bid for Cleverly’s WBO light-heavyweight title, the home favourite outworked the Welshman over the final rounds to gain the verdict 116-112 and 115-113 on two judges’ cards, with a third voting 115-114 to Cleverly.

Bellew, who moved into world cruiserweight title contention in the process, revealed there was still no love lost between the pair after an acrimonious build-up to the bout.

He said: “I don’t like him but I respect him and I’ve over-worked a great athlete over 12 rounds.

“He’s not a cruiserweight but I proved I’m a cruiserweight tonight and I’ll go on and fight anywhere. I want to get that world title belt round my waist.”

Cleverly was keen to hype the possibility of a third fight but in reality it was an attritional bout which was slow to catch fire and may struggle to engage the interest of the public for a decisive third meeting.

Cleverly said: “A split decision shows how much character I’ve got. Maybe we will have a third fight one day – I’ve been to Liverpool twice so maybe next time it could be in the Millennium Stadium in Wales.”

Anthony Joshua is set for a significant step up in class after taking just one minute and 26 seconds to dispatch veteran Michael Sprott.

The Olympic champion caught Sprott with a series of 17 unanswered blows to prompt the intevention of referee Terry O’Connor and earn his 10th professional win.

Afterwards Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said the heavyweight’s next outing would be against experienced American Kevin Johnson in London in January.

Johnson has never been stopped in 29 professional fights including going all the way with Vitali Klitschko in an unsuccessful WBC title challenge in 2009.

Joshua said: “Kevin Johnson is durable and he’s got a lot of experience and quite a lot of mouth, so it should be a fun one.”

James DeGale earned the approval of world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch after a thumping third-round stoppage of former world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban.

DeGale’s win moved him into the position of mandatory contender for a shot at the IBF version of the title Froch holds, and although Froch has other plans he was clearly impressed with DeGale’s performance.

Froch said: “Let DeGale and (George) Groves fight each other and maybe I’ll fight the winner, but it’s a mismatch. DeGale beats Groves every day of the week.”

Groves had been forced to work hard to secure a seventh-round stoppage of American Denis Douglin.

The end came towards the conclusion of the seventh when two clubbing rights sent his New Jersey opponent to the canvas.

Scott Quigg made a successful fifth defence of his WBA super-bantamweight title with a unanimous points win over Japan’s Hidenori Otake, while Jamie McDonnell also successfully defended his WBA bantamweight title after opponent Javier Chacon retired midway through the 10th round of their contest.

Published: Sunday 23rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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