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Cleverly set for Bellew rematch

ESPN staff
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Nathan Cleverly pulled out of his cruiserweight debut in November with a back injury, but is ready to face Tony Bellew once more © PA Photos
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Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has announced plans for a rematch between Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew at cruiserweight in November, with the winner set for a world title shot.

Former WBO light-heavyweight world champion Cleverly recently joined the Matchroom stable and Hearn has slated three fights for him in 2014.

"He will be fighting on May 17 in Cardiff and it is my hope to put him out one more time after that before a winter fight with Tony Bellew," Hearn wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

"That fight is huge and, as it stands, I have pencilled in Liverpool in November. If they both keep winning, then they have a massive fight to look forward to and ultimately a final eliminator to a crack at the cruiserweight world title."

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Cleverly beat Bellew on a split decision in Liverpool in his first world title defence in October 2011 and retained the belt for over two years before losing the first fight of his professional career to Sergey Kovalev last August, prompting him to reconsider his future in the sport.

Bellew has constantly called for a rematch, and after his cruiserweight debut win over Valery Brudov on Saturday said he was sick of hearing about Cleverly and poking fun at his maths degree.

Despite the mutual contempt the fighters hold for one another, Welshman Cleverly is up for a rematch and prepared to return to Bellew's home town once more after his first forays into the cruiserweight division, according to Hearn.

"Tony has passed his first test in the division and now Nathan has to do the same. Then we will have something really special to look forward to in the winter," Hearn wrote.

"I could deliver either of them a world title fight tomorrow, but there is no rush," he added. "I am happy for both guys to settle into the division first, have two fights each - I will probably look to get Tony out again at the end of June or early July as he hurt his hand in his last fight - and then they can fight each other.

"After that, the winner will go after titles."

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