Cleverly edges Bellew to retain title
Nathan Cleverly retained his World Boxing Organisation light-heavyweight title after 12 thrilling rounds against Tom Bellew in Liverpool.
Welshman Cleverly took a majority points decision 114-114, 116-113, 117-112 over the local challenger to take his unbeaten record to 23 fights.
With pre-fight talk verging on the ugly side, a real battle ensued with both men, who had nearly come to blows at the weigh-in and clearly had scores to settle, slugging out the opening five rounds.
But, in an electric atmosphere at the Echo Arena, Cleverly boxed the smarter for the remainder of the fight, landing blows more cleanly and consistently to get the nod at the end of what was a gruelling contest.
“I knew he would be dangerous in the first three rounds but in all honesty I thought he’d tire more,” Cleverly told Box Nation TV.
“But he held in there and showed he is a brilliant challenger. He’s very fit.”
On the same bill in Liverpool, James DeGale claimed the European super-middleweight title, also on a majority points decision, against Piotr Wilczewski.
DeGale, who went into the fight off the back of his first professional defeat to George Groves in May, proved too strong for the Pole, taking the bout 115-113 (twice) 114-114.
"It's about time, I'm back on top. Hopefully some doors will open," said DeGale, who is eyeing a rematch with Groves.
"I showed some grit and had to dig deep. His (Wilczewski's) record speaks for himself. He's a good seasoned pro."