Nathan Cleverly of Cefn Forest, Wales, retained his WBO Light-Heavyweight Title last night when he secured a majority points decision over Liverpool’s Tony Bellew in a Frank Warren promotion screened live on BoxNation.
The packed Liverpool Echo Arena watched as local hero – Bomber Bellew – took Champion ‘Clev’ the distance in a closely fought battle which could have easily gone either way.
The verbal banter over – both men faced each other in the ring last night to a rowdy crowd of mostly Bellew supporters.
Having charged out of their corners at the start of the opening round, Referee Richie Davies stopped the fight after just half a minute to give Bellew a verbal ‘roasting’ in the ring. Bellew had momentarily leaned on Cleverly in the corner and Referee Davies was intent on ‘nipping any rough tactics in the bud’ before the fight got properly underway. Mid-way through the second frame, Bellew offloads a barrage of shots and the crowd erupts with excitement! Cleverly covers up as the Liverpool man has him backed up on the ropes, but raises his arms and shimmies afterwards – as if to say ‘that didn’t hurt me one bit!’ and Referee Davies can be seen breaking in to a big grin!
It’s a close contest throughout, with Bellew edging the first half of the contest and Cleverly nicking more of the mid to latter rounds (although many rounds were difficult to split).
Cleverly lands a low blow mid-way through the fifth and the crowds boo their disapproval as Bellew is forced to recover for a moment. It’s a close round five with Cleverly looking to have done enough, although Bellew finishes strongly.
The seventh sees Cleverly start off the stronger but Bellew picking up the pace at the end of the frame again.
The tenth sees Bellew land with a couple of decent lefts then solid rights which snap back the head of the Welshman. The Liverpool crowd roars then boo’s as Clev raises his arm again to gesture ‘it was nothing’.
The twelfth and final round sees both men busy but Bellew has to take some head-shots.
Cleverly gets the majority decision 114-114; 116-113; 117-112.
He keeps his 100% winning record of 12 wins (11 by KO).
A tearful Bellew gave credit to Cleverly and apologised to his family (though in every ones eyes – he had nothing to apologise for!). His record now stands at 16 wins (10 by KO) and 1 loss.
On the same bill, James DeGale of Harlesden, London, won by Majority Points Decision over Piotr Wilczewski of Poland to win the European Super-Middleweight Title and the WBO Intercontinental Super-Middleweight Title.