In 2011, Nathan Cleverly narrowly outpointed Tony Bellew by majority decision in a terrific fight to retain his light heavyweight title. A rematch has always seemed inevitable and now Cleverly agrees.
After England's Bellew (21-2-1, 13 KOs) was stopped in the sixth round by champion Adonis Stevenson in November, he moved up to cruiserweight and made a successful debut, knocking out former title challenger Valery Brudov in the 12th round.
Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs), of Wales, eventually lost his title by one-sided fourth-round demolition to Sergey Kovalev in August and is also set to move up to cruiserweight. He makes his debut in the 200-pound division against Sean Corbin (17-4, 12 KOs) on Saturday at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales on the undercard of the Lee Selby-Romulo Koasicha featherweight title eliminator.
With a victory, Cleverly believes he and Bellew are destined to fight again.
"We're in the same division and have the same promoter [Eddie Hearn] now so it's inevitable," Cleverly said. "The first fight was a cracker and people want to see the rematch, so it makes sense now. We're building it up nicely and when he got by that right hand by Brudov in the seventh round I was thinking 'Please don't go over,' because I want the rematch.
"If he keeps winning and I keep winning, we're going to get it on, there's no doubt. We're on a collision course. It's 1-0 to me and I'm looking forward to making it 2-0. I am 6-foot-2 and Tony is tall, too, so getting down to the weight is tough. It's good that Tony is in the division, the more competitive fights and big names in the division the better it is. The first fight was good, the second fight is likely to be good, and with the same result. We know how much fight fans love domestic rivalries, and me and Bellew, we don't like each other. That's a good selling point but we can both fight and it will be entertaining and I'm looking forward to doing the business again."