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Cleverly wants Bellew after cruiserweight debut win

ESPN staff
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Shawn Corbin congratulates Nathan Cleverly on his victory © Getty Images
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Nathan Cleverly has set his sights on a rematch with Tony Bellew after seeing off Shawn Corbin in Cardiff to claim the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title.

Cleverly, back in the ring for the first time since losing his WBO light-heavyweight title to Sergey Kovalev in August, caught Corbin with an uppercut in the second round that dazed the Caribbean fighter.

The Welshman then unleashed a series of lefts and rights that gave the referee little choice but to end the fight.

'If you don't understand - shut up'

Leon McKenzie's boxing career remains unbeaten © Getty Images

The win keeps 27-year-old Cleverly on collision course with Bellew - with a rematch pencilled in for November 29 in Liverpool.

"Nine months ago I was here in this dressing room and it was quite depressing," he said. "I'd lost my world title and suffered my first defeat but now we're back.

"I just wanted to eradicate the memory of that first loss and I'm relieved we're back with a win. Initially it was difficult, mentally I was flattened by the loss and it was a big dent.

"But I refreshed and physically I feel good. This is my sixth different weight division since I turned professional and I feel stronger and I've got more energy.

"There are some big guys in the divisions, Corbin was a lump but I'm bigger as well. There are some good punchers too but I've got to develop into this cruiserweight division.

"I believe I can bring my attributes - my speed, my fitness so they'll have to worry about me as well."

Cleverly and Bellew will co-headline a show at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on July 12. If both come through unscathed, they will return for a rematch of their 2011 encounter that Cleverly edged on points.

"I was pleased when [Bellew] won his first fight at cruiserweight, he had a great knockout victory," Cleverly added. "We've set that fight up nicely, it's a domestic grudge match and fight fans love those.

"It's a proper rivalry. We were at it from the first press conference, it was very heated. He wants to be No.1 and I want to be No.1.

"We can both fight, the first fight was good so it sets up the second fight lovely."

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