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Nathan Cleverly vs Tony Bellew Fight Is Close for October 15

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It looks like Tony Bellew will get his shot at Nathan Cleverly on October 15. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
It looks like Tony Bellew will get his shot at Nathan Cleverly on October 15. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
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The Liverpool Echo reports that a fight between WBO light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly and British and Commonwealth champ Tony Bellew is nearly completed for October 15.

Cleverly (22-0, 11 KO) and Bellew (16-0, 10 KO) nearly fought on May 21 after a massive debacle that in turn helped contribute to Sky Sports later deciding to not put boxing on pay-per-view in the United Kingdom any longer. Cleverly was originally scheduled to face WBO titlist Juergen Braehmer, who surprised no one by bailing on the fight, and then Bellew was inserted as Cleverly's short notice opponent. But despite a press conference dust-up between the two, Bellew couldn't make the weight and was pulled himself two days before the fight. Cleverly wound up fighting non-contender Aleksy Kuziemski in a fight that didn't leave lasting memories.

At the time, many speculated that Bellew was never really going to fight Cleverly on May 21, and that Warren simply used the opening as an opportunity to put some hype behind a future Cleverly vs Bellew matchup. That all seems fairly reasonable, to be totally honest, and now it appears we'll get that fight.

But while this might be easy to sell as a rivalry, and Bellew does draw fans in Liverpool, I don't think the fight winds up being competitive. Cleverly looks a class (at least) above Bellew, and Bellew's last fight was awful, featuring him grinding out a laborious decision victory over second-rate domestic fighter Ovill McKenzie. I don't think I've ever seen a fighter celebrate having done so little to impress an audience the way that Bellew did that day, but he did win and set himself up for this fight, and I have no doubt it will sell at the gate.

Bellew was scheduled to face Paul David (13-5, 5 KO) on September 17, but that has been scratched.