Nathan Cleverly – by www.benwyeth.co.uk
Unbeaten Nathan Cleverly will make the first defence of his WBO light-heavyweight title against Liverpool’s commonwealth champion Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night, just three days after claiming the title!

Now that’s not an headline and opening paragraph I thought I’d be writing this week! But boxing is boxing, as life is life and anything is possible. Braehmer has cited an eye-injury has his reason for withdrawing and was stripped of the title and the Welshman installed as champion.
Cleverly 24, is now Britain’s 5th world champion, although the proud Welshman would not have wanted it this way and was primed to rip the belt from the German Braehmer. But things happen for a reason and in fighting Bellew (15-0, 10KO’s), he gets the opportunity to beat the boxer rated second to him in Britain.
It can be his spring board to then seek bigger fish on the international and world stage, with a possible unification showdown with the winner of Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins, who also fight on Saturday night in Canada.

For Bellew it is chance to live his own Rocky style story and shock the boxing world by stepping in at the eleventh hour to rescue a world championship title fight and realise a life long ambition, be it earlier than he could have ever wished for.

The Story so far!

Juergen Braehmer failed to arrive in the UK on Wednesday afternoon for his WBO world light-heavyweight title defence against Nathan Cleverly at the O2 Arena on Saturdays night. Promoter Frank Warren says he was left in the dark about Braehmers pull out and didn’t have any dialogue with the German camp and only found out on the Internet.

Warren calls for Braehmer to stripped of the title by the WBO and Cleverly to be given full championship status. “Neither Braehmer nor his promoters have picked up the phone and had the decency to explain to me what is going on. He is completely unprofessional, and the WBO should impose the ultimate sanction, which is to strip him of his title. It’s one of the most unprofessional things I have seen in my time in boxing. It’s a complete joke, an utter disgrace.” said Warren.

Nathan Cleverly is left devastated, but focused after being told he will be found a replacement opponent and will still be fighting for the world title against a top 15 ranked world contender.

Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew
Liverpool’s commonwealth strap holder Tony Bellew, who had been calling out for a fight with Cleverly last year fits the bill and being a Frank Warren fighter, it is looking like a viable option. Internet forums and our own website is rife with fans rubber stamping their approval of ‘Bomber’ Bellew.

“I am absolutely devastated, this was the fight I really wanted, I’ve been gunning for him for over a year now. He is the champion, it is very unprofessional, he has ducked out of the fight as far as I’m concerned, the proof is now there that he doesn’t want to fight me. Maybe I’ll be elevated to the world champion and as far as I’m concerned I’m still going to be fighting on Saturday and my celebrations will start after that fight. I wanted this fight bad and he has let everyone down. I knew he didn’t want the fight, I had a feeling he would not turn up. This is a major disappointment. He is an awesome fighter, he is getting paid well, why not come over and take the fight?”

Cleverly tells SkySports, when the name of Tony Bellew is put to him has a possible opponent says. “Whoever, I am ready, this is my dream opportunity Saturday night and if anyone thinks they can step in at late notice and take away my dream then bring it on and we’ll see, but I promise you I’ll make sure I’ll destroy anyone in there Saturday night whoever it is.”

Bellew 28, unbeaten in his first 15 fights with 10 coming inside the distance, is in training for his rematch with Ovill McKenzie, but makes it known that he would jump at the chance of a world title fight against Cleverly at the weekend and puts himself on standby… There is concern that with only four days to go to fight night, that Bellew may find it hard to lose the weight in time, even if the fight is sanctioned by the WBO.

“Frank (Warren) called, he’s my manager and I trust him so watch this space people.. Anything is possible in the squared circle. The weight won’t be an issue people, I’ll get the weight off! Only thing that matters is do YOU people really wanna see it?? I really DO!!” Bellew messaged his fans on Twitter.

Thursday morning.. And the ‘New WBO light-heavyweight champion of the World… Nathan Cleverly! The WBO confirm the unbeaten Welshman as champion after stripping Braehmer.

“There was an emergency board meeting last night to discuss the Braehmer situation and it was decided that he should be stripped of his title,” the WBO’s European chairman Istvan Kovac told news agency Reuters.

“We had an email from Braehmer a few days ago saying he had a cut but this is the third time he has pulled out of a title defence at short notice. He has had some personal problems in the past and I hope he can come back and fight again. But Nathan Cleverly is now the world champion and rightfully so because none of this was his fault.”

Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew IS CONFIRMED – New champion Cleverly will defend his title against Bellew in the main event at the O2 Arena in London. Both fighters rubber stamped the fight today at a very heated press conference and now the countdown is on….
“I’m coming down to London to fight and believe me when I say I’m going to knock Cleverly out cold,” he said. “I wouldn’t have put myself forward if I didn’t think I could beat him. Two months notice or two day’s notice, I know I can beat Cleverly.” said Bellew in a statement.

For both fighters this week will have been a roller coaster of emotions, up then down, but with Braehmers withdrawal almost upsetting the boxing cart and putting the PPV show in jeopardy, dispite the DeGale Groves undercard fight, Frank Warren pulled out the stops at the final hour to resurrect, not only the show, but the world title dreams of Cleverly, but the burning ambition of contender Bellew and and another simmering rivaly, that had been mooted to happen in the past and what should make a fantastic all British world title.

“I wouldn’t have put myself forward if I didn’t think I could beat him. Two months notice or two day’s notice, I know I can beat Cleverly.” – Tony Bellew.

A showdown between the two fighters has been building up for a while now with both men eager to get it on and it now promises to be an explosive fight between the unbeaten big hitters and for Cleverly, Bellew and the British fans, things haven’t turned out too bad.

Cleverly 24, said, “I’m really happy that Bellew will be in the opposite corner on Saturday night. Not only will he feel my anger from Braehmer pulling out, but he’ll now pay for slagging me off in the last year. I knew we would get it on one day and that day has come a lot sooner than expected, but I’m ready for Bellew and he’s going to get knocked-out.”

With James DeGale’s grudge fight against George Groves for the British and Commonwealth Super-Middleweight titles as chief support, the show is now all set to be an all British double-header blockbuster.

Warren said, “The fight between Nathan and Tony has been brewing up in the last year and it’s happened sooner than expected, but I’m delighted that the fight is on and the fans are in for a real treat on Saturday night. There is nothing like big domestic fights and in this case on Saturday at The O2 we have two big title fights involving British guys and I’m expecting fireworks in the ring.”

Cleverly and Bellew attended a press conference at the O2 today and met face-to-face. Both had to be held apart at one stage as things got ugly, when Bellew said he was going to knockout Cleverly, even though he is stepping in at the last hour.
“What I do know as a fact, is that he wouldn’t do what I’m doing, 24 hours, 24 days, 24 months, il beat him doesn’t matter and when I hit him he is gonna stay hit.” said Bellew to the gathered press.
Cleverly (21-0, 10KO’s) responded by offering Bellew a free shot on the chin and said he still couldn’t knock him out. Bellew hit back by saying: “If you give me a free shot on your chin mate, you will end up waking up in a St. John Ambulance.”
“If anyone is getting knocked out mate its you, your a bum!.” Cleverly hit back.
Bellew then pleaded with Cleverly not to run during the fight, so they can both fight it out, Cleverly said he had no intention of running and that he was going to ‘Smash’ the scouse challenger.

“The only thing that is going to get smashed mate is your face and your nose.” blasted Bellew.

Cleverly then countered, claiming that Belllew is just saying all this about stepping in as a late replacement because he is making excuses for when he gets beat.

“He’s gonna get knocked out so his excuse is, Ive only had 48 hours to get ready for the fight, your already making excuses. Your here to fight, so be a man and fight.”

Cleverly then offered to take their argument outside and Bellew gladly accepted, he stood up and shouted ‘Let’s do it right now you f****n rat as the pair went for each other with just Frank Warren to separate them, both teams had to pull them apart as they tried to get at each other and get the fight on even sooner than even expected!

The war of words went on and it took a while to calm them down. Bellew furious! spit out a volley of swear words at Cleverly and although they tried to get them to continue with there interviews, attention was directed over to James DeGale and George Groves where there rivalry seemed tame in comparison to the new main event.

What a difference a day makes and what a pair of fights to savor, dare we say the good days of British boxing and meaningful fights are starting to be resurrected? This one promises fireworks!

By Chris Maylett